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India's Tata Motors to spin off car division as separate unit

FILE PHOTO: Tata Motors logos are seen at their flagship showroom before the announcement of their Q3 results in Mumbai February 14, 2013. REUTERS/Vivek Prakash/File Photo

BENGALURU (Reuters) - Tata Motors Ltd TAMO.NS said on Friday it would spin off its passenger vehicles arm as a separate unit within the company, at a time when the coronavirus has disrupted auto production.

Tata Motors, India’s No. 2 automaker by revenue, said the spinoff will help it secure strategic alliances, which will provide the company access to new products, car parts, technologies and capital.

Car sales in India have dropped for 16 straight months up to February amid slowing economic growth, while the pandemic has halted auto production as the government imposed a 21-day nationwide lockdown this week.

Tata, the owner of British luxury car brands Jaguar and Land Rover, said in a statement the move would allow it to sharpen focus separately on its two businesses: passenger and commercial vehicles.

Tata, India’s biggest truck maker, said last week it was rapidly scaling down activity at its car factory in the western state of Maharashtra due to coronavirus-related concerns.

Reporting by Sachin Ravikumar and Derek Francis in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Sherry Jacob-Phillips