Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp (SAIC) has said it will sign an agreement with Martin Leach, ex-head of Ford of Europe, to rescue MG Rover, the BBC reported on Thursday.

SAIC and Leach will put in a bid to administrator PricewaterhouseCooopers to buy Rover's assets, the broadcaster said.

The proposal reportedly involves a substantial amount of car making at Longbridge and a nearby research centre for new models.

The BBC noted that Nanjing Automobile of China submitted a bid to PwC on Wednesday involving car making at Longbridge.

The two proposals are considered to be the frontrunners among the expressions of interest in Rover's assets, the report noted.

The BBC said the SAIC-Leach plan could see the Rover 75 and sports cars built at Rover's Longbridge factory - the plan would mean jobs for 1,300-1,600 engineers and designers on a new technology site at Longbridge.

SAIC reportedly is expected to produce engines at a plant in China, using machinery from Longbridge.

"In terms of the creditors, I would have thought [PwC] might be as well to keep [Rover] going," Tom Donnelly, director of the motor industry observatory at Coventry Business School, told the BBC's Today programme on Thursday. "If they don't get a deal, Rover will have to be sold off piecemeal and creditors will get virtually nothing."

The BBC noted that several past attempts to rescue Rover involving SAIC have fallen through.