DETROIT - The new identity of the old Rockwell Automotive continues a trend of snappy new names for ever-larger and more aggressive global automotive suppliers.
The company said last week that its name will become Meritor Automotive Inc. on Oct. 1. That's when the auto subsidiary of Rockwell International will be spun off into a separate company traded on the New York Stock Exchange.
The spinoff forces Rockwell Automotive to shed its 78-year tie to the Rockwell name.
The new name stems from the Latin meritus, meaning merit, or worth. The symbol, a winged bull, is meant to suggest speed, strength and agility. Rockwell hired Landor Associates, a corporate identity specialist, to help pick the name.
Rockwell joins other suppliers in changing monikers. (See box below.) Most have done so to reflect new strategies in a changing business.
Meritor, a $3.1 billion company, wants sales to increase by at least 8 percent each year.
The company makes wheels, sunroofs, window regulators and other parts for light vehicles. It builds brakes and driveline products for heavy trucks. It ranks No. 26 on the Automotive News list of the world's top suppliers.
As part of the agreement, Meritor will be able to use the Rockwell name for up to 10 years on individual parts - significant in the heavy-truck world, where customers can specify suppliers' parts when custom ordering.
Said CEO Larry Yost: 'We don't want to cut that off on October 1.'