18 June 2007, 9:41am
Ford has had preliminary talks with Cerberus Capital Management about selling its Jaguar and Land Rover brands, but the discussions have been inconclusive.The car-making giant has hired Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley to sell the two British marques, both part of its Premier Automotive Group (PAG), which also includes Volvo.
It expects the sales of the Jaguar and Land Rover brands to take at least a month and possibly longer, according to sources.
News of the talks with Cerberus come as Martin Leach, the former head of Ford Europe, emerged as a potential bidder for Jaguar.
'If it is put up for sale, it's something that we will take a look at,' Leach told reporters.
At the very least, his company, Magma, 'could play a role as an investor or a management role'.
He added: 'It will be a significant deal and would require significant funding. It is a fantastic brand.'
Other potential bidders are thought to be former Ford chief Jac Nasser and South Korean carmaker Hyundai.
However, Middle East corporate raider Investment Dar, a Kuwaiti company that bought a stake in Aston Martin earlier this year, has decided to rule itself out.
'We aren't bidding for Jaguar and Land Rover,' Amr Abu Al Seoud, Investment Dar's Vice President said. 'We've got enough plans for Aston Martin.'
Ford failed in its gamble to turn Jaguar into a mass-market producer.
It paid $2.6bn (£1.8bn) for Jaguar in 1989 and bought the Land Rover sports utility vehicle unit for $2.75bn in 2000. However, sales of Jaguar have been plummeting, falling from 84,000 in 2005 to 75,000 in 2006.