GENEVA - The auto industry prepared its bids for Rolls-Royce last week. BMW and other hopeful buyers all expect a decision from Vickers plc by the end of March.
BMW may or may not have any rivals.
After the Geneva show, top Volkswagen officials met with Vickers executives in the UK.
Daimler-Benz is not interested, Chairman Juergen Schrempp said unequivocally. But the chief of his car division, Juergen Hubbert, indicated Daimler might put in a bid just to keep the price up.
BMW has been candid about its intentions. At the auto show, Chairman Bernd Pischetsrieder unveiled BMW's strategy.
Pischetsrieder said Rolls-Royce would require an investment of about $1.6 billion to expand its annual production to 6,000 units, the minimum needed for survival. Rolls-Royce sold 1,918 cars last year.
That $1.6 billion investment would be on top of the purchase price, likely to be $400 million to $640 million.
With the added capacity and investment, Rolls-Royce could launch a car similar to the Java concept that was shown several years ago, Pischetsrieder said.
Rolls-Royce killed the Java after years of study because it could not afford the investment.
The concept was based on a BMW.
Pischetsrieder also expressed frustration. He said BMW would not continue to supply Rolls-Royce if a competitor wins the bidding, and he said the drawn-out sales process has delayed BMW's product plans.
He said BMW had plans to build an ultra-luxury car, but the company put them on hold when Vickers announced last autumn that Rolls-Royce was for sale.