Ford has issued a brief statement confirming that Ford's top execs have met with representatives of investor Kirk Kerkorian's Tracinda Corp investment firm to talk about Ford's turnaround plan.

The Ford statement said:

"Representatives of Ford Motor Company - including Executive Chairman Bill Ford and President and CEO Alan Mulally - met with representatives of Tracinda Corp. on Tuesday. The informal meeting was positive and a chance for the leaders of both companies to discuss elements of Ford's transformation plan that we have announced publicly. We continue to welcome confidence in Ford by our various stakeholders."

Kerkorian's Tracinda has acquired a 5.5% stake in Ford, which remains controlled by its founding family.

The Ford family holds about a 3 percent stake in the automaker but controls about 40 percent of the voting power in the company because of a separate class of shares established when it went public in 1956.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the Ford party met with Mr Kerkorian, his attorney Terry Christensen, and Jerry York, for more than an hour in Las Vegas.

Officials from Ford stressed that it was an 'informal meeting'.

Kirk Kerkorian is a long-time 'activist' investor in the US auto industry who has had his fingers burnt in the past with DaimlerChrysler and GM. His decision to up his stake in Ford has been interpreted as a vote of confidence in CEO Alan Mulally and Ford's turnaround strategy.