Fiat ready with Tata tech support on Jaguar

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FRANKFURT, Sept 12 (Reuters) Italy's Fiat is ready to lend technical support to Indian partner Tata in an eventual bid for Land Rover and Jaguar, the premium brands which Ford Motor is putting up for sale.

''If Tata is interested in Jaguar and Land Rover, we are ready to provide technical support,'' a Fiat spokesman told reporters attending the Frankfurt International Motor Show.

The spokesman clarified a comment made to reporters earlier in the day by Fiat Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne during a tour of the exhibits set up by the automaker's various brands.

In response to a question about Fiat's interest in Land Rover and Jaguar through a Tata bid for them, Marchionne had joked: ''For completely different reasons, we are interested in both.'' Last weekend, Fiat Chairman Luca Cordero di Montezemolo had told reporters that the Italian automaker was not interested in the two British-based brands.

Tata, a major partner for Fiat in India where they both make cars and engines, would be one of several potential bidders for the two brands.

A source familiar with the matter has told Reuters that India's Mahindra&Mahindra Ltd and U.S. buyout firms TPG and Ripplewood have expressed interest.

Ford plans to have more details on the sale of Jaguar and Land Rover by the end of 2007 or early 2008.

REUTERS DKS RS2028

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