A billionaire Russian oligarch could be one of the ways to rescue the MG marque from oblivion, an automotive industry expert has claimed.

Professor Peter Cooke said that while the future now looked bleak for Rover, there could be buyers interested in buying the MG name and its two seater TF sports car.

Prof Cooke, from Nottingham Business School, said the example of TVR offered one possible escape route for MG.

Russian financier Nikolai Smolensky, who says that he has "always been a fan of British car manufacturing", bought TVR last July for an undisclosed sum.

MG does not fit with British marques such as Morgan and Caterham, but Mr Smolensky may want to add to his portfolio.

Alternatively, MG could be bought by a consortium of businessmen.

As an "affordable sports car", MG competes with midmarket models made by Mazda, Fiat and others, and it is unlikely that groups such as BMW would want to take it on.

But despite this Prof Cooke said the MG brand was the most likely survivor from the wreckage at Longbridge.

He said: "If that can be unravelled from the rest of Longbridge, the MG brand could be viable. It is an icon brand, with a lot of history and pedigree behind it.

"But it would need someone with lots of money to invest in the car, which needs to be updated.

"Although it is currently selling very well, the TF did finish towards the bottom of the JD Power customer satisfaction survey."

The question of who bought MG would revolve around which major car manufacturer currently did not have a sports car division and could afford the necessary investment.

"I could suggest a Russian oligarch could come in and buy it. One could come in as has happened at TVR," said Prof Cooke. "I don't think a Japanese company would come in because the car needs a lot of quality built into it.

"But something needs to be done quickly. If MG can be secured quickly from the administrators, then there is some hope for it." But Prof Cooke was less optimistic about the future of the Rover marque.

"Who would want it?" he said.

"It has been hawked around so many times over the years."

Prof Cooke said the collapse would also have enormous knock-on effects for the suppliers and dealers.

He said: "Will it mean bargain cars? Probably not because somebody - the administrator - owns them and will want to get the best prices.

"There is not going to to be a fire sale, but there could be some keen pricing going on.

"But people buying MG Rovers will have to be careful because the cars will have a much lower residual value and have no warranty."

Prof Cooke added that despite finally rejecting the takeover deal, Shanghai Automotive could return to cherry pick parts of the Longbridge business.

He said: "I will be very interested to know if SAIC has got all that it wants or if there are some more bits of the company it might be interested in."

As for the suppliers, many now faced an uphill struggle.

Prop Cooke added: "The supply chain is where it is really going to hurt. There is a vital need for Government assistance to retrain people and get them working.

"There is a shortage of skilled workers in the West Midlands and some of the staff who look likely to lose their jobs could go into these.

"The £40 million on offer at present is nowhere near enough. There will be some casualties, and there will be some need to restructure the automotive industry in the West Midlands.

"Many of the firms are going to have to update themselves.

"In the past there was a feeling that if it was good enough for my grandfather, then it is going to be good enough for me. But firms that think like that are going to go down.

"Many of the rest will go into medical and aviation markets, but many will still remain in the automotive sector.

"In the end, the components industry will come out of this stronger."