How VW Lost The Rolls-Royce Brand To BMW 4 Yrs After a Purchase of $560,000 USD
In the year 1998,Volkswagen and BMW contested through a bid war to buy the Rolls-Royce Motors when the owner , Vickers (also the owner of Bentley) , decided to sell the luxury brand.
The most likely buyer was BMW, which already at that time, supplied engines and other components for both Rolls-Royce and Bentley cars.
BMW had the deal almost wrapped up with a final offer of £340 million before Volkswagen came in at the last minute with £430 million to win the deal for both brands (rolls Royce and Bentley).
But this didn’t mean that Volkswagen Group ( that currently sell passenger cars under the Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche, SEAT, Skoda and Volkswagen models ) owned everything about the Rolls-Royce brand.
Volkswagen only bought the Rolls-Royce designs, nameplates, administrative headquarters, production facilities, Spirit of Ecstasy and Rolls-Royce grille shape trademarks .They didn’t buy the right to use the Rolls-Royce name or logo which belongs to Rolls-Royce plc.
Rolls-Royce plc, which was also the aeroplane-engine maker, preferred BMW and for only to £40 million,it licensed the Rolls-Royce brand name and logo to BMW AG (the better part of the deal)
BMW also threatened to cut off engine supplies within a year ( which was part of their initial agreement ), a move that frightened clients and cut the orders by 30 percent .
This means that Volkswagen won’t be able to build new Engines that will power the Rolls-Royce vehicles within that time frame.
After a lengthy battle, the two German Automakers entered into negotiations and agreed that :
Volkswagen will use BMW’s Rolls-Royce brand name and logos to produce Rolls-Royce branded vehicles between 1998 and 2002.
Also, BMW will continue supplying engines and components to Volkswagen’s branded Rolls-Royce until the end of 2002, after which they will acquire the rights to the Spirit of Ecstasy and Rolls-Royce grill shape trademarks from Volkswagen AG.
The time will also allow BMW to build a new Rolls-Royce administrative headquarters and production facility.
From January 1st 2003,BMW-owned Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Limited became the exclusive maker of Rolls-Royce branded cars, with the Rolls-Royce Phantom becoming the first luxury car offered for sale .
As for Volkswagen, they became the sole provider of luxury Bentley car brands till date.