Ford decides to buy Rover after all
18 July 2006

The Rover name now appears destined for the history books after all, after Ford confirmed that it would exercise its right to buy the brand from BMW.

BMW had agreed to sell Rover to Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation - but when Ford bought Land Rover from the German firm in 2000, the deal stated that it would have first refusal on the Rover name if BMW ever decided to offload it.

Ford has now decided to take up that option, preferring to shell out for the Rover name now instead of relying on contractual obligations to stop the Chinese firm from eventually marketing a rival to the Land Rover.

A Ford spokesman told Reuters, "We feel it is in the interests of our Land Rover business to have the Rover brand. We are acquiring it and we're not looking to sell it. We believe it is a valuable asset for us."

The deal probably sounds the death knell for the Rover brand - Ford's purchase is almost certainly strategic, and it has no plans to produce Rover-badged cars.

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