While Nanjing Auto bought MG Rover back in July 2005, the forerunner to buy the Rover brand name from BMW was Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp, who actually owns many of Rover’s design rights. SAIC was expected to buy the Rover brand name for US$21.7 million. It had plans to put the Rover 75 back into production in late 2007 or early 2008.
However, SAIC has to change it’s plans now, as Ford whom BMW has given first right of refusal over the Rover brand name has decided to execute it’s rights and buy the brand name from BMW – and it has no plans to resell it later. Ford feels it is essential to own the Rover brand name to protect the interests of it’s Land Rover brand, through which it gained it’s first right of refusal in the first place when it bought Land Rover from BMW in the year 2000.