Is Tata Motors a Bargain?

(Corrects story originally published Jan 27. to say Tata shares have risen in value by about 600%.)

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- If you're looking for a bargain in an automotive stock today, take a look at Tata Motors (TTM).

Managing director Karl Slym died suddenly in Thailand, near the site of a Tata Thailand board meeting, either falling or (some reports say) jumping off a hotel balcony. He was 51.

Why Slym died is a mystery that could take two weeks to unravel. But the company should not be a mystery.

You may not know the Tata name but you probably know Jaguar and Land Rover. Both are Tata brands, acquired from Ford (F) in 2008 for $2.3 billion.

The company recently reported that U.S. sales of Jaguars in December rose 47%, year over year, while Land Rover sales rose 11%, with a total of 7,308 cars sold.  Full-year sales were up 20%.

Sales of Jaguar and Land Rover helped lead to a 71% gain in earnings for Tata Motors during the third quarter from a year before, and some analysts were predicting a doubling of year-over-year earnings in the fourth quarter.

Jaguar is planning a big advertising pitch for the Super Bowl, with a teaser ad already playing on YouTube starring actor Ben Kingsley, pointing to a larger buy on the day of the footbal championship game.

Tata Motors Limited is traded as an ADR on the New York Stock Exchange. Over the last five years the shares have risen in value by nearly 600%, almost as much as Ford. Despite this the Price/Earnings multiple of 10.36 still trails that of Ford, which is at 11.16, while both trail Toyota's (TM) 13.52 and General Motor's (GM) 15.64.

Slym joined Tata in October 2012 with extensive experience working with General Motors subsidiaries and joint ventures in both China and India. His job was to turn around the company's performance in its home market, hit hard by an economic slump.

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