Beijing Automotive Industry Holding (BAIC) has shown interest in buying Ford's Volvo car unit, according to media reports.

A team of BAIC executives was likely to visit Volvo's Gothenburg, Sweden headquarters as early as today to meet with its executives and tour its R&D and manufacturing facilities, the Wall Street Journal said, citing three unnamed sources.

A BAIC spokesman told Reuters said he was not briefed on the company's interest in any foreign brands. The automaker had expressed an initial interest in Opel earlier this month but did not follow through.

Other potential Chinese buyers for Volvo that have cropped up in news reports include Geely Automobile Holdings, Ford's China partner Chongqing Changan Automobile and Chery Automobile.

Volvo Cars spokesman Stefan Elfstrom declined to comment.

"Ford has said it is a process ongoing, but they haven't disclosed any names," Elfstrom said.

"Don't take the reports seriously. Lots of so called Chinese interest are leaked by investment bankers and lawyers trying to drum up deals," Guotai Junan Securities analysts Zhang Xin told Reuters.

An industry source told Reuters BAIC was interested in technology and designs which could then be used in its first self-developed car which it hopes to roll out in 2010 - it currently makes Mercedes-Benz and Hyundai cars at joint ventures.

"BAIC doesn't even have a in-house design car brand so far. How can anyone realistically expect it to take over and turn around Opel or Volvo?" the industry source asked Reuters.