Ford has confirmed its commitment to focus negotiations on the sale of its Jaguar and Land Rover marques to India's Tata Motors.
A company memo to workers at Ford's UK plants said that while discussions had been held with a number of interested parties, talks were being held at a detailed level with the Indian conglomerate.
"There is still a considerable amount of work to do and, while no final decisions have been made at this time, Ford will proceed with further substantive discussions with Tata Motors over the forthcoming weeks.
"These are complex commercial discussions and Ford believes it is in the interests of all parties concerned if the process continues to be conducted in a confidential manner.
"Therefore, Ford is not discussing the content of its ongoing dialogue with Tata Motors at this point in time other than to say any final decisions Ford makes will be in the best interests of Jaguar, Land Rover and Ford," said the message.
The bulletin, signed by Geoff Polites, chief executive officer of Jaguar and Land Rover, said the company's future for 2008 was "little clearer" but the firm's plan was unchanged.
Unite joint general secretary Tony Woodley said: "We need further and more detailed meetings and discussions with Ford and Tata which will focus on the job security of our members in the Jaguar, Land Rover and Ford plants in the UK.
"There are also crucial issues around wages, terms and conditions and pensions to address before any final decision is considered."
The US car giant put the two brands up for sale last year to shore up flagging profits after posting its biggest loss in its 103-year history.
Ford has said it hoped to conclude a deal by early this year.
This came as a shock to me