The next generation of MGs is set to be built in the USA with the Birmingham-based company's Chinese owners due to sign a deal today to make sports cars in Oklahoma.
A delegation from Nanjing Automobile is in America for talks to set up a new factory making remodelled TF roadsters and revive the ill-fated SV sports car.
Exact locations are still being considered but The Post understands the city of Ardmore - 90 miles north of Dallas - is being considered as the base for a plant which would augment Nanjing's operations at Longbridge in Birmingham and in China.
Wang Hongbiao, the managing director of MG UK, is leading the delegation which will also attempt to raise the $100 million needed to bring the plans to fruition.
If successful, the factory would ultimately assemble up to 50,000 cars a year by 2010 depending on market conditions.
About 200 people would work at the new plant at first, although this figure could ultimately rise.
Among the cars produced will be a remodelled version of the 165mph MG SV 'super-car', of which only ten models were sold, along with an extensively upgraded version of the best-selling TF sports car.
A source close to Nanjing said: "America is a symbol of the global market. If Nanjing can sell its products in the US, then everything is alright.
"It is a huge market and Nanjing thinks there is a lot of interest in the US for MGs. There are MG fan clubs across America and the brand is very popular among American motoring enthusiasts.
"NAC is very confident about making a success of the American venture. This was always part of the plan.
"Nanjing needed money and a market, and if this gets the go ahead it will have both."
Ardmore is thought to have been favoured because of greater access to state funding, and would follow the example of Japanese carmakers which have set up factories on the West Coast.
Talks are now underway with banks, venture capitalists and individuals in the US, with a decision on funding likely in the next few weeks.
If the money is not forthcoming, it is thought the carmaker will continue with its plans at Longbridge and in Nanjing itself.
A new factory has already been built in the Chinese city, which will ultimately produce up to 200,000 ZTTs, TFs, and ZRs. About 400 people are working at the site at present, although numbers will rise to 4,000.
The first car is due to be produced in China on March 27, the 60th anniversary of the foundation of Nanjing Automobile.
Meanwhile, work is continuing to prepare Longbridge for production next year, with the first cars - updated TF models - scheduled to roll off the production lines on April 8, the second anniversary of the MG Rover crash.
A product development centre and a vehicle engineering centre would also remain at Longbridge in addition to the assembly of TF and ZTT saloons.
The site could also see students from the Institute of Engineering at the University of Nanjing come over to Britain to learn more about motor manufacturing.
Longbridge will remain the headquarters of MG, it is thought. "Nanjing wants to use the facilities here, and it will be the centre for the Chinese company in the UK," the source said.
"If the company was only based in China, it would not be sensitive to consumer demand and consumer choice. It will be a truly British company working globally."