Ratan Tata. Credit: US Embassy New Delhi / Wikimedia Commons

Paul Jolly: Success is the best revenge!

Paul Jolly

Ratan Tata – pronounced Tatter – is an elderly Indian gentleman whose family business comprises, among others, Tata Steel, Tata Motors, Tata Tea.

However, when he decided to expand from trucks into mass production of family cars in 1998, it was not a good start.

Sales were poor and this first attempt was a commercial failure.

The Ford Motor Co in USA expressed interest in buying Tata Motors. A lengthy meeting culminated in Ratan being humiliated in front of his team with Bill Ford asking why he had started the Tata car division in the first case since he knew nothing about making cars.

“We will be doing you a favour by buying your car division,” he continued.

Ratan terminated discussions then and there.

Within a few years, Tata Motors produced the most successful cars in India and beyond.

Meanwhile, Ford was struggling to make a profit and in 2008 Ratan offered to buy Jaguar and Land Rover cars from the group.

These were the worst performing cars for Ford which was facing huge losses.

At a meeting this time in Mumbai, Bill Ford said: “You will be doing us a favour by buying JLR from us.” And so it was.

Ratan could so easily have humiliated Mr Ford in return but did not.

JLR produce some of the best selling cars of all time and Tata Motors is one of the biggest car companies in the world.

Ratan Tata is also one of the most respected businessmen on the planet.

Innovative designs kept coming with electric concepts turned into reality.

New Discovery, plus the long-awaited Defender replacement. Then there was Jaguar’s first SUV, the F-Pace and now the I Pace.

Today, Jaguar leads the electric power revolution.

Despite this success spanning a long career, how come Ratan Tata is not in the personal wealth league of Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos and so on?

It is simple.

Sixty five per cent of the family’s company profits are given away as charity every year.

Ratan Tata is also an exceedingly courteous, humble and nice man.

Paul Jolly, classic car specialist and valuer
Paul Jolly, classic car specialist and valuer