Do car companies pay for car names?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Jan 01, 1990

Dear Tom and Ray:

Car companies are constantly coming up with names like Pinto, Taurus, Mustang etc. Do they pay for new names? Who would I write to?

RAY: You've got a name that you want to sell, huh? Unfortunately, you can't protect a trademark on your name unless you actually produce a product.

TOM: So what you have to do first is develop the car. Then name it and apply for the trademark. Once you've gotten the trademark, all you've got to do is convince General Motors to buy you out.

RAY: I understand they pay $100 to $200 for names, so after the research, development, and production costs are paid off, you should only be out about $70-80 million. Good luck!

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