Ford Trademarks 'RS200' Name in Europe

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

Ford has trademarked an interesting name from its back catalog. Oval has filed trademarks for "RS200" and "Ford RS200" within the European Union Intellectual Property Office, according to our sister publication.

Based on reporting from AutoGuide, Ford appears to be reviving the name of the iconic mid-engine, all-wheel-drive sports car intended for homologation so it could run the model as a Group B rally car before fatal accidents (some of which included the RS200) encouraged the FIA to shut the racing division down. As a result, Group B cars have become automotive legends offering a sense of danger and unrestrained performance we’ve not really encountered since.

The small car seems like an obvious play for the automaker in an era where efficiency is becoming mandatory and heritage helps sales. There’s a mystique around the RS200 that will undoubtedly aid the brand’s marketing efforts, should such a vehicle go into production. However, it’s unlikely that a modern incarnation of the rally-bred vehicle will mimic the original beyond its general form.

An EV doesn’t seem out of the question, nor does the company trying to build a small-engined mainstream compact sports car. But the latter assumes the manufacturer has found a way to comply with emissions and ran the relevant cost analysis. We’ve even heard rumors that Ford was working on an amped-up version of the Puma — a compact model presently sold in Europe that likewise serves as the brand’s WRC car.

Interestingly, the Puma name was originally going to be affixed to sporting versions of the Ford Escort before the company decided to run with the RS2000 suffix. That model would arguably go on to be the brand’s best-known rally car until the RS200 debuted a decade later in 1984. Everything is connected. Life is a circle.

AutoGuide noted that a hypothetical RS200 could be based on the all-electric Mach-E. While the EV would undoubtedly result in a quick vehicle, it’s hard to imagine such a model being a success outside of Europe. However, this was just speculation on the part of the outlet and there’s nothing to indicate that Ford would even bother offering such a product in North America.

Truth be told, the market seems to be begging for something reasonably sized and competitively priced that’s fun to throw around. All-wheel drive is likewise fashionable right now, with the Mustang coupe only checking some of the aforementioned boxes. Based on the sales trajectory of American brands that culled small, affordable models from their lineup to chase down profit margins, it seems daft that Ford wouldn’t at least consider something small and sporty on our side of the Atlantic Ocean.

However, trademarks are often filed just so that a company owns the rights as a just-in-case. Ford may not have any formal plans for the RS200, tragic as that would be.

[Images: Ford Motor Co.]

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Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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3 of 9 comments
  • 1995 SC 1995 SC on Mar 14, 2024

    The truth is likely in the last sentence...they probably trademarked it just to keep the rights to the name.

  • Zipper69 Zipper69 on Mar 14, 2024

    The European market will still treasure the insanity of the original RS200, perhaps using the 2 door Fiesta base in either ICE or EV

  • Jkross22 It very much depends on the dealer. Just bought a replacement for the CX9. A local dealer gave a $500 discount on a CPO car while another one gave a few thousand dollar discount but was out of the area and we had to drive 5 hours to get. The local dealer still seems to think it's 2022 and cars appreciate when sitting on the lot. I wish them luck.
  • Ajla "and the $34K price doesn't seem too steep." Respectfully disagree. This would be okay at $29K. $34k clangs into way too much.
  • FreedMike i puUut pUniZhR sTikKr oNn mY KoMMpAs aNd nOW i hEeR Eegle SkReem. (And no one knows it's made in Mexico.)
  • SCE to AUX What a farce.Besides, "patriotism" has been redefined a hundred different ways in the last 20+ years. Disagree with one of them, and you're a traitor.And for starters, Jeep is a Stellantis brand with its HQ in the Netherlands. If this persistent myth about patriotism is ever cracked, the brand is doomed.
  • MaintenanceCosts I'm definitely seeing more dealer-level discounts than I did a year ago, but not a lot of lower MSRPs.