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All Eyes on Land Rover as Ford Mulls Consolidation

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GSD&M's "no-cut clause" in its contract as North American agency for Land Rover expires in June, and the auto maker isn't making any commitments beyond that.

"We're very happy with the work that GSD&M has done," said Jon Williams, Land Rover vp of marketing for North America. "GSD&M is our agency of record in the United States through the end of that contract and nothing's changed that."

Williams said it is "really too early to say" what the car maker will do in June. "I really can't speculate on what's going to happen down the line, because quite honestly, we haven't gotten there, the decision hasn't been made," he said.

Ford, which bought Land Rover from BMW in May 2000, has been mulling the idea of consolidating the $40 million SUV business at Young & Rubicam, which handles the car maker in Europe, sources said.

Y&R has been lobbying for the move and discussed the prospect with client executives at the highest levels of Ford and Land Rover, said sources.

"There's a lot of things coming into play and a lot of egos on all ends, particularly at Ford, in terms of how these things get blessed," one source said. Still, the executive added, "The process is moving along."

GSD&M account director Tom Steadman said that what expires in June is a no-cut clause and not the contract itself, which expires December 2003. After June, the no-cut clause reverts to a 90-day-notice clause for termination.

Y&R, which handles two other brands in Ford's Prestige Automotive Group (Lincoln-Mercury and Jaguar), declined comment.