Ford Stops Land Rover Sales In Sudan
Topics: Ford Motor Company, Land Rover
May 2, 2007
The Ford Motor Co.'s Land Rover product lines are no longer being sold in Sudan after the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) asked the automaker about reports that product lines of the brand may have been used by military or paramilitary organizations in the African nation.
A letter dated January 5 was released by the SEC from Don Leclair, Ford's chief financial officer, who responded to a December 15 letter of inquiry from Cecilia D. Blye, the chief of the SEC's Office of Global Security Risk. A SEC spokesman said that such correspondences are not released to the public for at least 45 days, following the completion of their review by the agency.
Leclair's letter said the company's Land Rover subsidiary had reached an agreement "in recent months" with its United Kingdom-based distributor that handles all sales to Sudan "that no further sales of Land Rover vehicles will be made into Sudan for any purpose."
"Any such sales were lawful," Leclair wrote, and the distributor advised Ford "that the bulk of the small sales volume in Sudan had been directed to the Ministry of the Interior for humanitarian purposes and those other governmental sales have been largely for agricultural development purposes."
Leclair's correspondence was written in reaction to the letter from Blye that said, in part, the SEC is "aware of published reports alleging links between Sudan's Ministry of Interior and activities of the Janjaweed militia in Darfur. We also are aware of published reports that the Janjaweed and Sudanese military forces use machine gun-mounted Land Rovers" during incursions against civilians in Darfur, which is a region in western Sudan.
Blye asked Leclair to address the potential affect that such reports could have on Ford's reputation and share value. "These reports have not had a material impact on our reputation or share value," he replied, noting that despite news reports and public SEC filings on the matter, "we did not receive any significant inquiries from our investors or the general public."
The Land Rover, a subsidiary of the Ford Premier Automotive Group, is a British all-terrain vehicle and a Multi Purpose Vehicle (MPV) manufacturer, based in Solihull, England. Starting out as an internal division of Rover, Land Rover has designed and built a wide-range of four-wheel drive vehicles under a chain of owners, including the British Leyland, the British Aerospace and BMW. At present, the marque is one of the internationally famous and longest lived nameplates of rugged sport utility vehicles.
Additionally, Land Rovers have competed in the Paris Dakar Rally. As part of a sponsorship deal, Land Rover was also used as the vehicle for the Camel Trophy. Nowadays, the off-road brand of Ford has its own G4 challenge. EBC rotors are not stopping the positive domino effect in favor of the automaker. As a fact, Land Rover has become so successful that it has survived its founder Rover, which was dissolved in 2005.
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