It was Ratan Tata’s dream project, but the car failed to make its mark in the market as sales were low. Due to the poor sales, Tata Motors decided to sell the car division.
In 1999, the group wanted to sell its fledgling car business to Ford. Ratan Tata along with his team flew to Detroit and met the chairman of Ford, Bill Ford. In a meeting that lasted three hours, Ratan Tata was apparently meted out a humiliating treatment. Bill had apparently told them that they knew nothing about cars and they shouldn’t have started the car division. He even went as far as saying that Ford was doing Tata a favour by buying his car division.
Post that meeting, Ratan Tata decided not to sell the car division and he returned to India. He put all his focus on Tata Motors and worked even harder. They say, failure is the greatest motivation, and it couldn't be more right.
The tables turned nine years later, and Ratan Tata grabbed his moment. After the humiliation in the US in 1999, the clock turned a full circle and Tata took his sweet revenge on Ford. The salt-to-software conglomerate humbled Ford — which was then on the verge of bankruptcy after the 2008 global financial meltdown by taking over the auto company's iconic Jaguar- Land Rover brands for $2.3 billion.
Ford chairman Bill Ford thanked Ratan Tata, saying "you are doing us a big favour by buying JLR." Not only did Tata buy JLR, but they turned it into one of their most successful ventures.