Tuesday, December 22, 2009
BMW reaches an agreement to sell the "Rover" brand name
According to a report from Automotive News, BMW has reached an agreement to sell the rights of the Rover brand name. Although there has been no leak concerning the company's name, it is speculated that the main candidates are two Chinese automakers, both of whom are under state control (!). Nanjing Automobile which acquired MG Rover assets and the sportscar brand MG, and Shanghai Automotive (SAIC) owner of design rights to two Rover models including the 75
The newspaper states that a spokesman for BMW confirmed a report in the German financial daily newspaper, Handelsblatt stating, "A binding agreement was made".
Although it seems like a done deal, BMW will need to obtain Ford's consent due to legal issues as the latter owns Land Rover -acquired from the BMW Group a few years ago. Basically, this means that Ford will give its consent only if the future owner of Rover's name strictly avoids any conspicuous connections with SUV vehicles.
I think that Ford should be very, very, very cautious with this one. Can you imagine the surprise on the face of a Ford's Group manager if he sees a Rover LT3 or a Rover Sport in the 2007 Shanghai Motor Show ?