India’s Tata Motors is buying the British-based luxury car marques Jaguar and Land Rover from Ford for 1.46 billion euros in cash. Tata Motors, is India’s top bus and lorry manufacturer and its third-largest car maker. It has been in talks with Ford since the start of this year.

Group Chairman Ratan Tata said: “We have enormous respect for the two brands and will endeavour to preserve and build on their heritage and competitiveness, keeping their identities intact.” And union leader Des Quinn said the workers are happy: “We believe it means stability and hopefully good news looking forward. We’ve had written assurances there will be no plant closures, no job losses, that their pay, their conditions, their pensions will be guaranteed, so hopefully good news and stability going forward, very much business as normal.”

The two companies employ a total of 19,000 people at five plants in central and north west England. This is not the Tata group’s first foray into the UK, last year it bought the Anglo-Dutch steelmaker Corus for 8.25 billion euros.

Analysts have expressed concerns about how Tata will fund this deal given the current credit crunch, and how Jaguar and Land Rover will fit into its stable of vehicles, including the Nano, the world’s cheapest car.