When Ford sold off Jaguar and Land Rover to India’s Tata Motors for $2.5 billion in 2008, investors assumed the worst and dumped stock as quickly as they could. The joke, it appears, may be on those who sold off shares, as the current value of Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) is estimated at $14 billion.

That estimate comes from three separate industry analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News, and it puts the net worth of JLR as higher than that of Italy’s Fiat. It also signals that the time may be right for an IPO, which would give foreign investors a chance to participate in the company’s success.

It would also raise development capital for future JLR models, including the DC100 Concept-based Defender, which the company hopes to position as a high-volume vehicle. There’s the recently announced Jaguar F-Type roadster to consider, too.

Tata Motors is the second-best performing automotive stock in 2012, despite slowdowns  in Tata-branded sales in India. Its strong performance is largely tied to the success of the Range Rover Evoque, and worldwide demand has necessitated the addition of a third shift and some 1,000 new workers at JLR’s Liverpool, England plant.

While Tata hasn’t officially decided to list JLR, it would give the automaker a clear path towards funding a staggering number of new and upgraded products, including the two referenced above. Over the next five years, JLR has some 40 new or redesigned vehicles planned, and is also entering into a joint venture with China’s Chery Auto.

Another route to funding that Tata is said to be considering is a bond issue, which would avoid diluting ownership in the JLR brand.  Tata has gone this route before, raising £500 million ($799 million) as recently as this March.