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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 February 2006, 18:18 GMT
Rover site lease 'to be renewed'
MG Rover Longbridge plant
Chinese carmaker Nanjing Automobile is expected to renew its lease on the former MG Rover factory at Longbridge, in the West Midlands.

The move will keep alive the hope that Nanjing could restore car production at Longbridge.

Leaseholder St Modwen Properties told the Reuters news agency that it was hopeful that the lease would be renewed for at least six months.

A deal is expected to be signed on Wednesday, St Modwen said.

'Like a marriage'

Nanjing bought MG Rover for 50m ($86m) after it went bankrupt last year and promised to revive car production, making up to 80,000 vehicles a year.

Last week, the company dismissed reports that it would shift MG Rover car production to Coventry.

Nanjing was responding to speculation that it was in talks to sell its MG Rover brand to businessman David James and his Kimber consortium, which made an unsuccessful bid for the company last year.

The Chinese firm's vice-president, Wang Hongbiao, said the company was hopeful of restarting MG production at Longbridge and said its commitment to the site was "like a marriage".

"We have never considered production anywhere else but Longbridge," he said.

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