Ford will end production of the Focus compact car at the plant in 2025 as the company shrinks its vehicle lineup in Europe to concentrate on full-electric cars and light commercial vans.
The future of the Saarlouis factory has been unclear since last June when Ford picked its plant in Valencia, Spain, to build its next-generation electric vehicles over the German plant.
Ford executives plan to travel to China next week to discuss the potential sale with BYD, the Journal reported. Talks are still in a preliminary stage and may ultimately fall through, the report said.
Ford said last June it is seeking alternatives for vehicle production at Saarlouis, including involving other manufacturers. The factory employs 4,600 workers.
The Journal report said Ford is also gauging interest from about 15 potential investors, but the terms of any deal are not known.
Negotiations with possible investors -- including companies in energy and car assembly as well as automakers -- had accelerated in recent months and Ford aimed to present a solution for the future of the plant by the end of the first quarter, said Saarlouis works council chief Markus Thal.
"It is of secondary importance which continent a possible investor comes from -- if a carmaker comes, that's what we would like to see, because it's what we do," he said.
"We need a plan urgently," Thal added, saying workers would not wait until 2024 for a solution.
Ford and the regional government of Saarland where the factory is located agreed last September to cooperate on finding new investors for the plant, with a final decision on a buyer to be approved by both parties.