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Rover brand name passes to Ford

BMW, Rover's former owner, had been in talks with several parties in recent months about selling the name. Ford retained first option over buying the Rover trademark after a deal which saw it acquire Land Rover in 2000. BMW retained the Rover brand name after selling the business to the Phoenix consortium in 2000 but decided to sell after MG Rover collapsed last year. Ford declined to say how much the transaction was worth. "It is in the interest of the Land Rover business to do this," said a Ford spokesman. "We're not ready to say what we plan to do with the Rover name." Reports suggested BMW had held talks with two Chinese firms, Shanghai Automotive and Nanjing Automobile, about the name. Shanghai Automotive opted not to buy MG Rover outright last year but holds the design rights to the Rover 25 and 75 models and has talked of restarting production in the UK next year. Nanjing bought MG Rover assets - including the rights to manufacture the MG sports car - last year. (BBC News)