A key element in the negotiations is understood to be a purpose-built 'supplier park' for component manufacturers within the 300-acre brownfield site.
The investment will also include the building of an additional assembly line to bring into production the next-generation Fiesta range of small cars and a new model codenamed B257, thought to be a sports car. Production of the new Fiesta family and the B257 is planned to begin in 2002. Dagenham is also thought to be in line to become the sole Western European source for the Ford Ka.
Ford is remaining tight-lipped about the proposals. A spokeswoman said: 'We have a very exciting plan for the regeneration of Dagenham and the surrounding but we and all the five or six other parties involved have agreed to say nothing more until May 26.'