Cars We Buy: Rover
The Rover Company was founded in 1878 as a bicycle maker. Within the next hundred years, it had attempted to branch out into various avenues of business, including making cars and commercial vehicles. Still, it failed miserably at every turn, except for somewhat successful one-two models? In 1904 they started producing automobiles under their new moniker "Rover." Their logo became an iconic Viking longship which made them stand apart from all other car manufacturers with its unique branding - no matter how badly designed, or unreliable those products might have been.
Leyland Motor Corporation bought Rover in 1967, but the brand continued to stand out and not follow Leyland's style. Eventually, other companies such as British Leyland came along who also wanted control of this company to make different models that were more appealing than LMC would allow them to do on their own.
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BMW sold the rights to the Rover marque to Ford in 2006 for approximately £6 million, the latter exercising an option of first refusal to buy it dating back to its purchase of Land Rover in 2000. Ford thus reunited the original Rover Company marques, primarily for brand-protection reasons. In March 2008, Ford reached an agreement with Tata Motors of India to include the Rover marque as part of the sale of their Jaguar Land Rover operations to them. Legally the Rover marque is the property of Land Rover under the terms of Ford's purchase of the name in 2006.