MG Rover is preparing to ship kits of its Rover 75 to Brilliance for sale in the Chinese market.
The Longbridge car-maker and Brilliance recently signed a wide-ranging collaboration agreement and the export of the knocked-down kits is a big boost for the Longbridge plant.
John Towers, chairman of MG Rover, said that Brilliance, which manufactures buses and cars in China, had expressed its keenness to take the Rover 75.
Mr Towers said: "They want to be in the Chinese market with the Rover 75 as soon as possible and that means about 12 months from now. Things are really smoking."
The Rover 75 will appear in China bearing a Brilliance badge and will go into a market where only about ten per cent of the Chinese population can afford to buy a car of that quality. But the market totals about 130 million people.
Mr Towers said: "This by any standards is not a small market, although it is a small percentage of the Chinese population."
The kits are the first fruits of the collaboration between MG Rover and Brilliance, but Mr Towers emphasised that was the forerunner of other developments which included, at a later stage, kits for the Rover 25 and Rover 45 models. At present none of the MG Rover range - more powerful cars - would be seen in China.
Mr Towers was speaking after delivering the E Percy Edwards lecture to the Birmingham branch of the Institution of Electrical Engineers at Longbridge.
He said that the deal with Brilliance for the cars changed the economies of scale and it would also benefit the component supply system.
"We have a team which is already working on the project and while we had signed a collaboration agreement spanning five years Brilliance and ourselves are now talking about the next ten years," said Mr Towers.
We are both similarly sized companies and neither of us have long chains of decisionmaking processes. We are both quick on decisions."
Powertrain, which MG Rover recently acquired from BMW, will also benefit from the agreement with Brilliance and an increase in the output of engines from the plant next to the car production site at Longbridge is expected as a result.
Mr Towers said the company formed by MG Rover and Brilliance would eventually be self-financing as profits from the business were ploughed back into the operation.
MG Rover will not be managing factories, the Chinese marketplace or suppliers in China which would be the responsibility of Brilliance's management. MG Rover would be providing the technology.
Mr Towers added there was a probability the US market could be entered by MG Rover, but that required greater study of the cost implications before any decisions were taken.