Report: Jaguar and Land Rover now profitable

Whichever company buys Jaguar and Land Rover form Ford -- most likely India's Tata Motors -- will inherit a business that is now profitable, according to a new report. In the last twelve months, the British brands have turned around their combined balance sheet by $1.6 billion, the report claims.

Land Rover made a profit of $1.2 billion in 2007, and Jaguar reduced its losses to just $100 million, according to the U.K.'s Just-Auto. The numbers are very encouraging, considering the companies lost a combined $500 million in 2006.

Selling off a profitable business might seem like a strange move for Ford, but that's exactly what the U.S. automaker did with its Aston Martin brand. Profitable business can command much higher price tags, and Ford is desperately in need of cash to turn around its North American operations.

According to Reuters, Tata has bid $2.05 billion for the two luxury marques and is currently the only suitor in the running.

While there have been rumors about a lightweight all-aluminum architecture for the next-generation Range Rover, engineers are said to be considering sticking with a steel chassis in order to maintain high profitability. A similar decision was made for the Jaguar XF, which was originally expected to have aluminum underpinnings, but was later switched to steel.