UK Prime Minister Tony Blair has personally intervened in an effort to secure a prospective alliance between troubled British carmaker MG Rover, and Chinese giant Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp (SAIC), reports said. According to the Guardian newspaper, Blair's deputy delivered a letter from the prime minister to the SAIC board during a recent visit to China, giving his full support to the proposed venture. The deal is thought to involve SAIC investing up to US$2bn in new Rover models and is seen as the last chance of survival for the cash-strapped company. An announcement on the deal had been expected early this year, but a spokesman for Rover told the Guardian talks with SAIC were still ongoing. "We're making good progress and [holding] a lot of talks with our Chinese partner, but what I can't give you is any kind of firm date to pencil into your diary," he said.