This time it's especially painful.
Over the past year, Jaguar Land Rover has experienced some serious financial problems that only became exacerbated by the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. The good news is that it received a financial lifeline in June in the amount of a $705 million loan from Chinese lenders. The Tata-owned, UK-based automaker reported a $113 million in 2018 and had to cancel some projects, among them the ultra-limited Range Rover SV Coupe. That Chinese loan won't bring that SUV back to life, but it'll certainly make life much easier for JLR. However, the automaker has just been hit with another setback.
According to the Financial Times, emergency funding talks between JLR, Tata Steel (owned by the Tata Group), and the UK government for a deal to involve a British taxpayer bailout have collapsed. The report claims the UK government concluded that the Tata Group has enough money and therefore doesn't require financial assistance.
Another reason why the talks fell through is the strict conditions that would have been attached. For example, there were decarbonization requirements JLR wasn't too keen on because it would have required the company to accelerate its electrification plans and phase out diesel models sooner than planned. However, both JLR and Tata Steel are still holding talks with the government about potential tax breaks.
The reason why this latest round of bailout talks happened in the first place is that neither company was eligible for assistance from the government's main coronavirus lifeline plans. Instead, the government devised a plan where companies could receive direct loans that may be turned into equity stakes in some circumstances.
JLR has over 30,000 employees in the UK alone (Tata Steel has 8,000) and their next method to receiving local financing will probably have to come from private sources. At present, the only all-electric model the automaker offers is the Jaguar I-Pace, though this will soon expand once the next-generation XJ flagship sedan debuts sometime next year.
Between January and July this year, JLR has lost nearly $1.3 billion and was already excluded from the Bank of England's financial support plan because of a poor credit rating. JLR's next step is quite obvious: additional private financing and it's a good bet China could be a source once again.