Chery Automobile on Wednesday was reported to have said a joint venture with Chrysler, its partner in a small car production alliance for the global market, remains an option, but ruled out any major moves in the "near term".

Reuters noted that Chery last July agreed a deal with the Chrysler to make compact cars for sale in the United States and other markets.

According to the report, the Shanghai Securities News said that the two had been in talks to set up a full joint venture in Chery's home base in the eastern Chinese province of Anhui and could reach an agreement in the near term.

"A joint venture with Chrysler was and still is an option, but I am not expecting any big moves of any sort in the near term," a Chery spokesman told Reuters.

A Chrysler spokesman told Reuters the two companies were moving forward with their plan to export vehicles from China to international markets, but declined to comment on the newspaper report on a manufacturing venture.

The two aim to begin exporting China-made compact cars to North America and Latin America by 2009, Reuters added.

The Chrysler spokesman told the news agency the companies were eager to begin exporting small cars from China as soon as possible but would not do so until they were 100% convinced that the models would meet global standards.

Chery aims to generate 40% of its sales overseas by 2010, when it targets annual sales of 1m cars, compared with 25% in 2007, Reuters added.