Freeing Ford's Logo From Debtors' Prison

The company seeks to win back rights to its iconic logo from banks
Illustration by 731

Six years ago, Ford Motor was running out of time and money. To save the company, Henry Ford’s great-grandson had to do something the founder never could have imagined—sign away the family name. In order to secure a $23 billion loan, a syndicate of banks led by Citibank, Goldman Sachs, and JPMorgan Chase demanded as collateral the rights to the blue oval logo that surrounds the Ford name on the nose of millions of cars. “When we had to hock the blue oval, that was a very tough thing,” recalls Bill Ford, the company’s executive chairman. “I will never forget signing those papers. My heart stopped for a moment. It will start beating again when we get it back.”

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