Last week, Autocar received a tip-off that BMW had quietly re-applied for European Trademark status for the old Triumph ‘laurel wreath’ badge. Indeed, the application was published just before Christmas, which is always a good time to keep things quiet.
The possible applications of the badge are much wider than cars. From the filing it seems that BMW is covering itself for the potential use of the Triumph badge on the widest possible range of consumer items. It would be easy to get carried away and write banner headlines declaring that Triumph is back from the dead and coming soon to a showroom near you.
At the other extreme, this is just BMW getting involved in a bit of back-office admin and keeping things up to date. After all, it has owned the rights to the brand since it bought Rover in 1994. Back then, BMW inherited a number of ‘heritage’ brands, including Austin, Morris, Wolseley, Riley and Triumph. MW held on to Triumph and Riley when it broke-up and sold off Rover in 2000. Riley was a particular favourite of then BMW boss Berndt Pischetsrieder (who, bizarrely, was also great-nephew of Sir Alex Issigonis).
Rover Group bought the numberplate R1 LEY and there is said to be a full-size model of a proposed, Rover 75-based, Riley coupe in BMW’s Munich basement.