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.