To 'observers' comfortable with billions of dollars, a noting of this kind of response is naive to mention, silly to consider. But there are signs of inner conflict between the matter-of-fact view that Jaguar and Land Rover have gone to a good company in a world where you can expect such takeovers, and a sense of loss that the flagships of British motoring, ceded once to American cousins, have passed to real outsiders. The misgivings end of this conflict is hard to get hold of; it speaks in tone and undercurrent, and publicly it gets cloaked in expressed rationality.
Tata's acquisition of Tetley Tea has gone well. And no cultural tensions have arisen over Corus either. The Tata group is particularly sensitive to respecting an organisational culture that delivers decently. What's different with these brands is the street-level loyalty they draw as peculiarly (and at least originally) British cars. The pride of British roads is now an emblem of more definite British loss. "There isn't such a big groundswell of concern about Tata taking over well-known UK brands," said an academic and business consultant who did not wish to be quoted by name. "It appears that Tata will invest in these cars and maintain job security. The strains usually appear if something begins to crack."