Steve Saleen acquires Saleen brand, naming rights
Although Steve Saleen hasn’t been associated with the Saleen brand for nearly five years, it looks like the legendary racer and producer of high performance Mustangs will once again be able to do business with his name. We have learned that tomorrow Steve Saleen will officially announce his acquisition of the Saleen name and brand. Our sources tell us that Steve’s current company, SMS Supercars, will be rebranded as Saleen, and they will start to produce new Saleen vehicles beginning for the 2013 model year. The only current evidence of the change is on the web site of SMS Supercars, which is now making use of the Saleen name and logo, and www.saleen.com mirrors the same web site.
The separation of Steve and the Saleen brand began when he officially retired in May of 2007. Originally it looked like Steve and the company he founded would remain connected, but the two were further separated when Steve launched his new venture, SMS Supercars, in March of 2008. For a while Saleen, Inc. and SMS Supercars coexisted peacefully, with Steve launching his new line of vehicles and Saleen continuing to produce the standard S281 line as well as limited edition models like the Dan Gurney, Dark Horse, and the 25th Anniversary Sterling Edition Mustangs. However, when the owners of Saleen, Inc., Hancock Park Associates, sold off the assets of the company to MJ Acquisitions in February 2009, Steve insisted that the new owners didn’t have the right to use the Saleen name or brand and filed a lawsuit against them a few months later.
Since then both companies have been producing vehicles over the past couple years, with Steve and SMS Supercars unveiling the the 302 Mustang and Saleen Performance Vehicles introducing the S302 Mustang. More recently the future of Saleen-branded vehicles were up in the air, though, with the parent company announcing that they would stop production of vehicles at the end of 2011.
Now with the Saleen name back under Steve’s control, we’re guessing that the brand will be continuing production of high performance Mustangs for the foreseeable future. We’ll have more details for you tomorrow when official details are announced.
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- SEMA 2012: 281 Motorsports Saleen Speedster
- SEMA 2011: Saleen debuts S302 Speedster with new options, matte black paint
- Road Test: 2007 Saleen Parnelli Jones Mustang