DETROIT: Ailing US automaking giant Ford Motor Company has bought the defunct Rover brand name from current owners BMW in a bid to prevent the moniker being used by rivals.

Ford, which owns the 4x4 Land Rover marque, is reported to have paid around $11 million (€8.8m; £6m) for the rights to the iconic British trademark, according to UK newspaper The Times.

The US number two automaker has historic rights to buy the name and the Viking longship logo, but its exercising of those rights has come as a surprise to the industry.

Chinese-owned Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation, which owns the technology for two Rover models, was widely expected to clinch the deal [WARC News: 17-Aug-06].

Ford will not officially disclose the finances involved in the deal with BMW, save to say: "It is in the interests of the Land Rover business to own the Rover trademark."

Its longterm plans for the marque are also a mystery.

  • Meanwhile, it has been reported in trade journal Automotive News that Ford and the US number one automaker General Motors briefly considered some form of alliance earlier this year.

    Managers from the two companies, whose headquarters are within sight of each other on a clear day, began meeting in July, the publication claims. However, discussions are no longer occurring and no further action is expected.

    Both companies are staying zip-lipped about the reports.

    Data sourced from The Times Online (UK); additional content by WARC staff