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Ford asks Toyota for Edge rights

Edge of a decision: Ford Australia is hoping to use the global Edge moniker for its new SUV, but Toyota owns the rights to the name.

Toyota confirms it has been approached by Ford for permission to use Edge name

Ford logo31 Aug 2016

By TIM NICHOLSON

TOYOTA Australia has confirmed that it has been approached by Ford asking to give up the trademark rights to the ‘Edge’ name so the Blue Oval can use it for its forthcoming large SUV due in 2018.

The Japanese car-making giant has owned the rights to the Edge name since 1999, using it for special edition versions of the RAV4 and Corolla between 2000 and 2009.

While Toyota holds the trademark until 2019, Ford’s new SUV is set to arrive in 2018 to fill a gap in its line-up left by the Territory that will be killed off once the company shuts its Australian manufacturing operation on October 7 this year.

Toyota Australia corporate affairs manager Beck Angel told GoAuto that Ford had recently asked for permission to use the Edge name, but was coy on what Toyota’ s position was on retaining the decade-old moniker.

“We are still considering our options,” she said. “We will work that out and get back to Ford and let them know. We don’t have a time-frame on it at this stage but we hope to have an outcome as soon as possible but we just need to consider all the options first.” A Ford Australia spokesperson was unable to shed light on the ongoing discussions with Toyota, saying: “We can’t discuss private conversations.” The spokesperson said Ford was still working on the naming strategy for the new-generation SUV.

“The name of the Australian market Edge will be confirmed closer to the launch. A local naming strategy is being considered, with Edge being one of the considered nameplates.

“Toyota owns the Edge name in Australia. That may cause us to pursue a unique name for the Australian market. We’re currently working on the strategy, with the Edge name on the consideration list among others.” Ford Australia marketing director Lew Echlin told GoAuto last week that while the company was proud of what the Territory name had achieved, there was “equally, if not better value” in using the Edge nameplate given its global recognition.

“The Edge has been a very well accepted product in its current state, there’s no reason to think it wouldn’t be even better represented in its future state, and in my heart of hearts, I don’t want an asterisk with ‘Edge aka Territory’ for Australia,” he said at a media event in Sydney.

“The name game is an interesting one, but right now the front runner is Edge.” While it is understood that the Territory name is being considered if Ford and Toyota cannot come to an agreement, the overwhelming preference within Ford Australia is to adopt the Edge name.

GoAuto understands that Ford Australia’s US parent company holds the copyright to model names across its global portfolio and that its representatives from its Dearborn, Michigan headquarters would be dealing with Toyota to resolve the issue on behalf of its Australian arm.

There have been previous cases in Australia of car-makers having to change model names because of existing trademark ownership.

Hyundai had to change the name of its small sedan in Australia between 1991 and 2002 from Elantra to Lantra because Mitsubishi Motors Australia Limited had complained that Elantra was too similar to its Elante name that was used for variants of its Magna.

Subaru also baulked at using the American-market Legacy moniker for its new mid-sizer in 1989, opting instead for Liberty, so as not to interfere with the veterans assistance organisation, Legacy Australia.

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