There was unfounded confusion on Thursday over the future of the MG Rover Chinese joint venture following the release in Hong Kong of a statement from Brilliance China Automotive Holdings Limited that said: “The company wishes to state that neither it nor any of its subsidiaries has engaged in discussions or entered into any joint venture project with MG Rover and no payment has been made by the company or any of its subsidiaries in this regard.”

"This statement will confuse a lot of people," said MG Rover group public relations director Stewart McKee.

"Technically that statement is true but we don't have a deal with Brilliance China Automotive Holdings.

"Our deal is with China Brilliance Industrial Holdings, a subsidiary of Shanghai Automotive."

Last week, McKee told just-auto that the British car maker was “monitoring” rather than reviewing its alliance with China Brilliance after Automotive News Europe (ANE), citing “sources in China” said that MG Rover's joint venture “is probably doomed”.

He added at the time that MG Rover “still has a deal” with China Brilliance Industrial Holdings and its chairman Yang Rong. The first project of the joint venture was “production of the medium sized car" that was “proceeding according to schedule” though it was still “some way off”.

On Thursday McKee said that MG Rover was still maintaining a close watch on the joint venture but he stressed that the company had already received some investment from its Chinese partner.

The Brilliance China Automotive Holdings statement was primarily to confirm that a foundation that is part of its structure was approached by a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Liaoning provincial government regarding the possible acquisition by the subsidiary of all or part of its interests in the company and that its management may or may not participate as one of the purchasers in the proposed transaction.