With all the attention surrounding the sale of the Jaguar and Land Rover brands you’d think Ford must desperate to offload the two brands. After all, just recently as 2006 Jaguar posted an annual loss of more than $700 million and Land Rover, while profitable, wasn’t posting anything worth mentioning. Skip forward just 12 months and it’s a very different story.

For 2007, Land Rover's global sales increased nearly 18%, due mostly to increased sales in new markets Russia and China, and according to the carmaker’s managing director Phil Popham it’s “strongly in profit at the moment".

Jaguar, too, has turned around its dismal performance record and should be close to turning a profit this year. "In 2008 we are expecting a much stronger year in terms of sales," Mike O'Driscoll, Jaguar managing director, told Reuters on the sidelines of the Detroit auto show.

Despite the recent strong performance of both Jaguar and Land Rover, Ford, as part of its own turnaround plan, has decided to focus on its core brands and thus is offloading the two British marques. It will be interesting to see what cash-rich Tata Motors will be able to do with the brands once it takes control.