Two former European car chiefs on Wednesday were reported to be leading a bid to revive output at MG Rover's Birmngham plant in fresh talks with Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation, according to a report on EdinburghNews.com.

Martin Leach, the former head of Ford European operations, and Ed Sabisky, a former finance director of British car-maker Vauxhall, reportedly "are understood" to have received the backing of the T&G trade union, which represents many car industry workers in the UK.

The report said the plans - which would require a substantial investment by former Rover partner SAIC - involves establishing Longbridge as a base for research and engineering and, later, production.

A source reportedly said Leach and Sabisky were being taken "extremely seriously".