The Rover brand name - once synonymous with the best and worst of British automaking - is reportedly about to become the property of Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation.

According to the Financial Times, a deal worth £11 million ($20.7m; €16m) has been hammered out between the Chinese firm and the marque's current owner, Germany automaker BMW.

No formal announcement is to be made, however, until Ford Motor Company decides whether to exercise its historic rights to buy the name and the Viking longship logo.

SAIC, which unsuccessfully battled rival Chinese automaker Nanjing Automobile Group last year for the production lines and assets at collapsed MG Rover, remains coy about any deal.

And a BMW spokesman is also circumspect: "We are currently negotiating with a few interested parties, including SAIC, regarding the sale of the rights, but no agreement has yet been reached."

SAIC, nevertheless, owns the technology for two Rover models, the 25 and the 75, which it plans to use for production of its own still unlaunched models.

A spokesman for Nanjing insists its only interest is the iconic MG brand [WAMN: 13-Jul-06] and denies it is eyeing the Rover marque.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff