Ratan Tata, chairman Emeritus, Tata Sons, and the visionary behind the Tata Motors-owned Jaguar Land Rover’s renaissance, has been honored for “making a vision a reality,” by being inducted into the prestigious 2015 Automotive Hall of Fame.
On July 23, at a gala event in Detroit, Mr Tata, who was voted Autocar Professional's 'Man of the Year' in in 2008, joined automotive legends, former Ferrari chairman Luca Di Montezemolo, and founder and chairman of Penske Corporation, Roger Penske, in being recognised for their contribution to the global automotive industry.
“This is a great honour, and a very humbling one for me, to be inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame,” said Mr Tata in receiving the award. “Nothing has equaled the excitement, the reward and the exhilaration that the car industry has provided. I owe this award to my colleagues in our companies who have transformed the business.”
The audience of over 450 automotive industry executives and media recognised Mr Tata’s remarkable achievements, which included growing the Tata Group during his 21-year tenure as chairman to include 96 companies in 56 countries with over 500,000 employees, and revenues of over $100 billion last year.
“This growth resulted from Mr Tata’s vision of creating India’s largest multinational company, through strategic acquisition and concentration in categories where Tata could dominate, of which automotive was key,” said Automotive Hall of Fame chairman Michael Martini in his introduction to Mr Tata.
Martini said that the Automotive Hall of Fame also recognised Mr Tata’s quest to give mobility to India by producing the country’s first indigenous car, the Indica, in 1998, following it with the ground-breaking Nano in 2008, priced at under $2,000.
“Tata’s investments in Jaguar Land Rover saved or created over 33,000 jobs in England, while preserving the rich tradition of performance and style that are the signature of these marques. Clearly his vision is the reality,” Mr Martini added.
In his speech, Luca Di Montezemolo recognised Mr. Tata’s automotive achievements. “It is an honour to share this award with a fantastic friend of mine, Ratan Tata. He is the person who created Tata Motors, built cars in India and has done a fantastic job with Jaguar Land Rover.”
Roger Penske also acknowledged Mr Tata’s success. “Ratan is a key industrialist in the automotive business. Taking on risk, taking his money and his expertise to Jaguar Land Rover. Today they are two of the best brands in our business.”
Chris Marchand, executive vice-president, Operations, Jaguar Land Rover North America, who was in the audience, said it was Mr Tata’s clear, unswerving vision for both Jaguar and Land Rover that has resulted in the company’s remarkable turnaround.
“Since Mr Tata acquired the business from Ford in 2008, Jaguar Land Rover has doubled in sales and employment, more than tripled its turnover, and invested £10 billion in new product creation and capital expenditure. Last year was the fifth successive year of solid growth for Jaguar Land Rover, enabling us to invest in our long-term future. That is an outstanding achievement.”
“I know if our Jaguar Land Rover North American dealers were able to be here tonight, they would be standing up and applauding Mr Tata, who has always listened intently to what the U.S. dealers have had to say.”
Since its founding in 1939, the Automotive Hall of Fame has honored close to 800 automotive industry greats at its annual ceremonies, inducting just 350 to the Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn, Michigan. They include Karl Benz, Ettore Buggati, Henry Ford, Ferdinand Piëch, Sergio Pininfarina and Ferdinand Porsche among others.