Jobs will go in the wake of MG Rover's link-up with the Chinese, but not as many as the 2,000 some reports have suggested, a top car industry union boss has again claimed.
Transport workers' leader Tony Woodley said the Birmingham car maker's planned deal with Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation was "about jobs preservation, not job losses".
Speaking as he visited shop stewards and TGWU members at Longbridge, Mr Woodley said business logic dictated that the Chinese would want to retain production of new models from the plant.
He said: "It is all to play for at the moment. The amount of jobs that stay will be determined by how much of the work we keep and how much we end up getting.
"I have no fears or doubts that Longbridge will be a major player. It is important that Longbridge does not just become an assembly plant.
"The real truth is that nobody knows the answer on jobs other than no investment means no models and no jobs."
Asked about speculation that the merger could bring up to 2,000 MG Rover redundancies, he said: "I don't accept the need for that many job losses.
"There is no doubt that between now and the middle of 2007 when the new models come on stream, there will be a slimming down of the workforce.
"As long as that is done voluntarily, as has been done over the last four and a half years, I have not got any problem on that. It has to be a plan for people and a plan for Longbridge. We are working very hard on that."