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The drama that is Saleen entered a new chapter yesterday with the announcement that Steve Saleen's new company, SMS Supercars, has filed a lawsuit against MJ Acquisitions, which purchased assets from Saleen, Inc. including the right to produce the 'S' line and Racecraft Mustangs, as well as the Speedlab aftermarket division. Steve Saleen, who left Saleen, Inc. in the summer of 2007, claims the lawsuit was filed to "continue to protect the name, reputation, and brand value of Steve Saleen, and to reassure his loyal customers, dealers, and car enthusiasts that only Steve Saleen's SMS Supercars performance vehicles and products are genuine and deserving to carry his name." Much of this statement can be attributed to both Saleen, Inc's and MJ Acquisition's refusal to honor warranties for vehicles and parts sold before the transfer of assets between the two companies. While SMS stepped in and admirably offered to honor the warranties despite any lack of legal obligation, this lawsuit is no doubt another push for Steve's new company to be the only one linked to his name.

Interestingly, this lawsuit comes just days after AutoWeek reported that MJ Acquisitions planned to produce two new Mustangs under the Saleen brand in the next year. Steve and SMS Supercars have already been busy launching products of their own, starting the with the 570 and 570X Challengers earlier this year, followed by the 460 and 460X Mustangs scheduled for a late 2009 debut. More details on the SMS Supercar's lawsuit against MJ Acquisitions can be found in the press release after the jump.

[Source: SMS Supercars]


Orange County, California. (July 17, 2009) Steve Saleen and his company, Steve Saleen's SMS Supercars, announced today that they have filed a lawsuit in the Superior Court in California, seeking an order directing MJ Acquisitions, Inc. to cease and desist from promoting their products under the Saleen name in any form. Concurrently, Mr. Saleen is also seeking additional, related remedies from the company that formerly carried his name. This action is an additional move to continue to protect the name, reputation and brand value of Steve Saleen, and to reassure his loyal customers, dealers and car enthusiasts that only Steve Saleen's SMS Supercar performance vehicles and products are genuine and deserving to carry his name. Steve Saleen ceded control of the company he founded, Saleen, Inc., in 2003 and left it completely in the spring of 2007 without any further management association. The non-enthusiast corporate executives sold a number of assets to a company by the name of MJ Acquisitions, Inc., changed the company's name, and in early 2009 ceased operations altogether.

True Steve Saleen performance vehicles again available in the market

After having left his previous company, Mr. Saleen started Steve Saleen's SMS Supercars in 2008 and unveiled his newest creation, the SMS 570 Challenger, in January of this year. After having participated in the 2009 National American Dealers Association show as part of the official Chrysler Group display, Steve Saleen's SMS Supercars successfully launched the SMS 570X Challenger and the new SMS 296 Supercharger at the New York International Auto Show in April of 2009, where many media ranked them among the stars of the show. Steve Saleen's SMS 460 and 460X Mustangs were announced at the 45th Mustang Anniversary show in Alabama in April, with more info and images to be released this weekend at the Mustangs Northwest Roundup in Seattle and during the 2009 Mustang Week in Myrtle Beach starting Monday, July 20.

Steve Saleen steps up and protects his brand, name, reputation and customers "SMS Supercars is the new Saleen" (Steve Saleen)

In April 2009, Steve Saleen announced support for his customers and dealers affected negatively by the demise of the company that long carried his name. In a statement issued in April, he said: "The company I launched a long time ago announced it will no longer honor its product warranties, nor will the acquiring company for those assets, MJ Acquisitions, Inc. This kind of 'customer treatment' damages my reputation, misleads customers and cannot be left unaddressed." Steve Saleen announced that SMS Supercars would guarantee the warranties that MJ Acquisitions abandoned. Mr. Saleen went on to say: "It amuses me that faceless executives and wannabes are trying to misrepresent themselves as some kind of continuation of Saleen, which they are not. SMS Supercars is the true Saleen. It is the only company I endorse, the only company entitled to use my name and legacy, and the only company that carries my signature on its products, because they are my products. The legal action we have undertaken today will emphasize once and for all that the only genuine Saleen products are mine.

About Steve Saleen's SMS Supercars – Speed, Science and Style

Steve Saleen's SMS Supercars, a company founded by renowned race driver and automotive icon Steve Saleen, is a manufacturer of high-end lifestyle performance vehicles, technical performance parts, lifestyle accessories and apparel. Steve Saleen's SMS Supercars designs, engineers, tests, certifies, manufactures and assembles all of its own products and vehicles. As SMS Supercars' first product, the SMS 570 and SMS 570X Challenger have been launched in early 2009, while SMS 460 and SMS 460X Mustang models have been announced for market entry later in 2009.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      You guys should read the article more thoroughly before commenting.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I hope he wins too.
      IMO, it's a not frivolous lawsuit, and he doesn't seem to be asking for money, just wants to preserve his name.
      Screw MJ, if they wanted to keep loyal customers they would of a acknowledged present owners warranties. They obviously don't care about saleen owners. Once the word was out that warranties were gone, value plummeted on saleen mustangs and trucks.
      • 6 Years Ago
      So he says that SMS is the only company "entitled" to carry the Saleen name but why? I don't know the details of when he sold Saleen, but it sure sounds like he sold the company, including the name. After all, the name would have been a major source of value for the company. And if that's the case, then he has no claim to the name, even it happens to be his personal last name, even if he doesn't like the new owners, or how they run the company.

      But what do I know, maybe the decendents of Ransom Olds should have sued GM a few years back....
        • 6 Years Ago
        As a former Saleen insider who was both screwed-over by the end-game management decisions made at Saleen, Inc. and had previously held positions of sufficient responsibility prior to the influx of outside investment so as to have had a chance to voice my opinion prior to the decision, the decision to bring-in outside investment was critical to the development of the S7. Without it, the car would have never reached the market, much less even reach the point of a clay model. Without it, Steve (and the rest of us) wouldn't have had the opportunity to grow the company to the point where there were enough employees to become pissed-off about business decisions that looked sound at the time but, in hindsight, were little more than stepping stones to losing control of the company and allowing the original vision of the product to become muddled by the profit-focused outside interests. If it had not been for these outside interests, the volume of Saleen Mustangs produced would not have ballooned to the point of diluting the uniqueness of each individual vehicle but nor would Saleen have grown to the level that was able to command floor space in the concourse at the NAIAS or a complete exhibit hall display in the Los Angeles and New York auto shows.

        In the end, a lot of mistakes were made and ultimately a company made great only through the efforts of its many employees suffered an untimely demise at the hands of a few, but it was truly something special that anybody other than Steve at any other time, Saleen name or not, would be hard-pressed to even try to emulate. It can be assumed that a great deal of luck and timing influenced the events that did transpire but the true value that used to be behind the Saleen brand came from the employees who fought in the trenches of the company and were the true soul of what once made a Saleen an extraordinary car.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I gotta go with Steve Saleen on this one. Yeah, he probably made a mistake in taking in outside partners to finance the S7, but Steve didn't dump Saleen, Inc, the money guys forced him out, then looted the company, then ran it into the ground. And MJ is more of the same. Pretty nervy of MJ to fire every actual Saleen employee and screw every single Saleen customer out of their warranties, and then claim to be "the new Saleen".

      Good on Steve for stepping in and looking after the customers, and good on him for protecting his name. Ain't that many people anymore who value their name. I don't care how many stickers MJ puts on its cars. The only Saleen, is Saleen.
      • 6 Years Ago
      He was having problems the finances of the org saleen company after the s7 came out. He sold the company and stayed with it as basicly a face for the company. He left because he wanted to start over which he did. The other company was ran into the ground and went out of business. He just wants to help the customers that got ripped off buy the old company when they said they were not going take care of the customers. Do you see any other company or person stepping up like that.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Steve Saleen is a big fat liar! He told his employees when he was retireing from the company he would still be involed. He walked away and we never seen him again. He didn't care about his employees or his customers! The employees that he left at Saleen INC wanted to stay working and wanted to honor the warranties. We cared about the customers. How can any one trust that he won't walk away from his new company and leave his employees and loyal customers behind with nothing again?
      • 6 Years Ago
      This article makes me LOL.

      Who does Steve Saleen think he is?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Um. He thinks he is Steve SALEEN...
      • 6 Years Ago
      Steve Saleen didn't give rats behind about his company when he walked away in 2007 to sell foriegn cars or the loyal emploees he let behind. SCREW HIM! and MJC acquisitions. Its just a bunch of guys with lots of money that think they can play god! The employees and the customer are the only ones at the losing end. Shame on them all! Go buy a roush or shelby.