February 3, 2006
Product Naming: Who Owns the Austin Healey Name Anyway?
The GB Sports Car Co, production partner of MG Rover's owners Nanjing Automotive, recently announced it was going to introduce a reincarnation of the legendary Austin Healey after its absence for over 35 years.
Or, maybe not…
It turns out that the Healey name is actually controlled by the Healey family, and they have never granted GB Sports Car Co the rights to the name. Instead, The Healeys have sold their marquee to an Anglo-American company, HFI Automotive for about $2 million.
This company, with the blessing and participation of Healey founder Donald Healey’s daughter-in-law Margot and her daughters Cecilia and Kate, plan to introduce a new car at the London Motor Show under the Healey 3000 nameplate. And the car will be built by the British in Warwickshire, Britain.
The moral of the story is when it comes to a classic brand name, ask first before trying to trade on it.
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