Ed Sabisky, quondam finance director at General Motors' UK unit Vauxhall, and Martin Leach, a former head of Ford Europe and Maserati, are in "advanced" confidential talks with China's Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation.

On the agenda is the resuscitation of the now shuttered MG Rover manufacturing facility in the UK Midlands, reports daily newspaper The Times.

The Sabisky-Leach proposal, which has the support of Britain's Transport & General Workers' Union, involves establishing MG Rover's former Longbridge plant as a base for research and engineering and, later, as a production unit for the resultant new models.

SAIC refused all comment on the discussions, save to confirm their existence. However, one Chinese insider let it be known that Leach and Sabisky are regarded "extremely seriously".

Data sourced from The Times Online (UK); additional content by WARC staff