Reports surrounding the deal – likely to be rubber-stamped early in the new year – indicate that a separate company, set up by SAIC, would be set up to take a 70% stake in the British firm in return for cash injection for new models.
The deal would give MG Rover a sales outlet in China, initially boosting production at the company’s Longbridge factory, and allow costs to be shared in the development of new models.
Last week MG Rover unveiled three new concept cars based on existing products, including a coupe version of the Rover 75 and a fixed roof version of the MG TF. The Rover 75 Coupe was designed to mark the centenary of the Rover name and uses yew wood and tan leather hide.
The MG GT concept is meant to be the spiritual successor to the MGB GT of the 1960s, and uses a tuned version of the 2.5-litre K-series engine, developing 200bhp. The car could appear in a revised MG TF range. The third concept car is a lightweight version of the MG SV high-performance coupe.
Industry insiders believe that a replacement for the ageing 45 could break cover some time next year, going on sale in 2006, three years after the firm initially stated it would be launched.