MG Rover's owner Nanjing Automobile has held talks with China's biggest car maker to jointly develop new vehicles, it has been claimed.
Over the weekend, a group of high-ranking officials from the huge First Automobile Works Group Corp (FAW) were said to have visited Nanjing Auto for discussions on building Rover branded cars.
Reports in China said Nanjing would set up Nanjing Auto MG Automobile, the carmaker's seventh subsidiary, as part of its plan to revive Rover.
The revival plan, also called the "566 Program" within Nanjing Auto, is thought to include building a manufacturing plant in the Nanjing Jiangning area with an annual output of 300,000 cars of various models.
The first batch of Rover cars are expected to hit the market within one-and-a-half years.
Nanjing has cast its net far and wide for partners, in addition to its link with GB Sports, a company headed by former Powertrain executives.
Peter Cooke, professor of automotive industry management at Nottingham Business School, said the arrangements could be part of Nanjing's plans to find partners to become a truly global player.
He said: "China is a big place, but a very fragmented automotive market.
"There are lots of small players who are going to have to merge and rationalise if they want to produce the volumes they want. Nanjing is not big enough on its own."
FAW was founded in 1953 and has collaborations with Toyota and Volkswagen. It sold a million vehicles last year and claims $12.4 billion in assets and employs 132,000 people.
Meanwhile it has emerged that one of the two Department of Trade and Industry inspectors investigating the collapse of MG Rover has charged nearly #12,000 a day for three months' work.
The inspectors are also understood to be planning to roll out the investigation for another five years until 2010, according to industry sources.
The spiralling cost has fuelled fears that a multi million pound bill could be accumulated before the truth about the events which triggered the Longbridge crash is established.
Two inspectors were appointed - Guy Newey QC, a former DTI investigator, and Gervase MacGregor, head of forensic accounting at accountancy firm BDO Stoy Hayward.
Figures revealed under the Freedom of Information Act show that Mr MacGregor and BDO Stoy Hayward, lodged a #1.09 million bill, including VAT, for the three months work to August 31.