For thousands of motorists the Blue Oval is just another hood ornament whizzing by on an expressway.
But for Ford, there is real money being mined in that famous trademark beyond the grille of a new Explorer or F-series pickup.
Ford, as Forbes.com reported this week, has a thriving $1.5 billion business licensing the Blue Oval and various corporate trademarks for video games, clothing, die-cast car models and other merchandise -- even pool tables.
That's up a staggering 50 percent from $1 billion a few years ago.
So it was no understatement this week when high-fives busted out of the Glass House in Dearborn, Mich., after the second of three credit-rating agencies lifted Ford debt out of the junkyard, allowing the automaker to recover full rights to the Blue Oval and other assets.
Ford surrendered the Blue Oval as collateral for the first time ever when it secured $23.5 billion in new financing in 2006. Bankers aren't dumb when they are putting staggering amounts of money on the line. Default on those loans or go bankrupt, and you cough up the logo and all of its riches.
Ford's financial turnaround has been well documented but the intangibles are making the difference in the automaker's recovery.