Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Ltd is an English company, a division of BMW AG, specializing in the production of luxury cars under the Rolls-Royce brand.
In 1998, the owners of Vickers decided to get rid of the assets of Rolls-Royce Motors. The most attractive buyer was the German automaker BMW, which already supplied engines and components for Rolls-Royce and Bentley cars, but BMW's final offer of £ 340 million was interrupted by another German auto giant, Volkswagen, which offered £ 430 million.
VW received from Vickers the rights to the "Spirit of Ecstasy" statuette and the Rolls-Royce branded radiator grille, to the Bentley brand (including the logo), models (including documentation for them), production and production facilities, headquarters. But VW was left without the Rolls-Royce trademark and logo, because the engineering company Rolls-Royce plc, which owned the rights to use them, decided to retain them for the sale of the car division. Rolls-Royce plc has relinquished its right to the brand and logo of Rolls-Royce, BMW for $ 40 million, because both companies had joint projects.
The point in the contract BMW, for the supply of engines and components for Rolls-Royce Motors, allowed to terminate the contract and to stop deliveries, notifying the second party for the year. VW was not able to quickly change the design of the produced models for the use of other engines. The shattered historical look of Rolls-Royce (name and logo, radiator grille and Spirit of Ecstasy), as well as the danger of production shutdown due to engine supplies, forced BMW and VW to sit at the negotiating table.
Following the negotiations, VW agreed to sell the BMW rights to the radiator grille and "Spirit of Ecstasy", in return for the continued supply of engines and components of BMW for production until 2003. VW also continued to produce Rolls-Royce cars from 1998 to 2003, giving BMW time to build a headquarters, a new factory in Goodwood (northeast of Chichester, West Sussex) and the development of a completely new Phantom model.