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A Jaguar emblem is seen on the front grill of a Jaguar vehicle at a Jaguar/Land Rover dealership in Michigan. - 


Steve Chiotakis::
Oil briefly touched the $39 a barrel mark today. And you'd think more people would be buying cars. But an anemic economy seems to be hurting everyone. American carmakers are idly plant and Ford sold off the Jaguar and Land Rover brands to the Indian company Tata. That company's been struggling lately too. And with three Jaguar plants in the U.K. Tata may be looking for British government help. In London, Stephen Beard reports.

Stephen Beard: When Tata bought the company in June, it said these two iconic British brands had global growth potential. But Tata has since cut production. And out of 15,000 British jobs, 850 will be gone by the end of the month.

The British government says it's talking to Tata about a bailout. No word yet about how much is required.

The idea of taxpayers' money propping up a foreign-owned company might meet stiff resistance in the States, but not in Britain, says David Bailey of the Birmingham Business School.

David Bailey: Britain is different from the U.S. in that it is much more open to foreign investments than the United States. Key industries have been taken over by foreign companies. They are seen as the fabric of the economy. I don't think there's a political problem about giving financial assistance.

Nevertheless, the British Government says it does not have an open checkbook to bail out ailing private companies. Some commentators say Jaguar Land Rover is most likely to get either a government loan or loan guarantee.

In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.