BMW remains the favourite to buy Rolls-Royce Motor Cars following Vickers’ announcement on Monday that its subsidiary car-maker is up for sale.
The news raised speculation that Ford, Fiat and Daimler-Benz (which owns the Mercedes brand) would join the bidding, but all three denied interest.
Vickers is understood to be looking for at least £400m for the car company, having recently invested close to £200m in new manufacturing facilities in readiness for the new series of Rolls-Royce and Bentley saloons due out next year.
Analysts believe potential bidders are hanging back in an attempt to force Vickers to drop the price.
BMW is already engaged to supply turbo-charged V8 and normally-aspirated V12 engines for the new range of Bentley and Rolls-Royce cars a contract snatched from under the nose of Mercedes-Benz.
The engines are essentially those used in the BMW 7 Series, but they are getting added performance refinements from Cosworth Engineering, which is set to remain part of the Vickers group after the Rolls-Royce disposal.
Cosworth itself looks likely to gain from the Vickers shake-out.
Analysts expect some of the proceeds from the sale to be used for bolt-on acquisitions to strengthen Vickers’ engineering consultancy arm.