RECORD MONEY; German Duo Save Rolls and Bentley
Caven, Bill, Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Great British car names Rolls-Royce and Bentley have been saved after a deal involving two German motoring giants.
BMW are to take over the Rolls-Royce motor trademark - despite failing in their bid to acquire the company.
The battle to buy Rolls-Royce Motor Cars was won by Volkswagen, who will see the famous trademark go to BMW in 2003. At the same time, under the agreement, Volkswagen will change the name of Rolls- Royce Motor Cars to Bentley Motor Cars.
The deal has come about because the Rolls-Royce brand name is controlled by aero engine makers Rolls-Royce Plc.
And they were unhappy at the name switching to Volkswagen.
So now BMW will pay Rolls-Royce Plc pounds 40million for the right to use the trademark.
Rolls-Royce jobs at their headquarters in Crewe, Cheshire, have also been safeguarded after it was confirmed the latest luxury model, the Silver Seraph, would continue to be produced.
The historic deal comes only months after BMW and Volkswagen were involved in a bitter fight for control of the Rolls motor business.
It was put up for sale by defence and engineering group Vickers.
BMW were widely seen as the favourites to buy the Crewe-based business after they tabled a pounds 340million offer.
The firm already supplied engines to the factory and had the support of Rolls- Royce Plc.
But they were outgunned by Volkswagen, who emerged victorious with a pounds 430million bid, in spite of opposition from Rolls-Royce Plc.
Rolls-Royce Plc chairman Sir Ralph Robins said yesterday: "As the sole legal owner of the Rolls- Royce name and trademarks, we attach the greatest importance to their preservation and protection. …