The French government may boost its stake in Renault, from just over 15% to as much as 20%, to increase the government's influence, industry minister Christian Estrosi said.

His comments cames as French president Nicolas Sarkozy summoned Renault chairman and chief executive Carlos Ghosn to a meeting on Saturday over concerns that a new version of the popular B-segment Clio may be built in Turkey, taking jobs away from France.

There was a 50/50 chance the state would raise its stake, Estrosi told Reuters, a day after he met with Renault chief operating officer Patrick Pelata over the jobs issue.

"We are considering this. What is certain is that we are looking for a way for [Renault] to understand that the state with a stake of 15% is a state that has influence," he said. The government is Renault's biggest shareholder - the automaker was once completely state-owned and was privatised from 1996. The French state's 15.01% stake is just ahead of that held by alliance partner Nissan Motor (15%). Renault has a 44.5% stake in Nissan Motor.

"We can do this by staying at 15%," Estrosi added. "Maybe going to 17, 18 or 20 is a psychological way to make them understand that we don't intend to just let the industrial auto strategy of France run its course without reacting."

Renault has yet to decide where to make the fourth generation Clio but media reports it could opt for Turkey have prompted government calls for the vehicle to be made largely in France.

"What we are asking of Renault is not to close a production chain in Turkey ... It is to ensure that the Clio 4 that is destined to be sold in France is produced [here]," said Estrosi, who is also mayor of Nice.

He added, however, it would be acceptable to make the vehicle in Turkey for that market.

Howver, the European Commission is now eyeing the French demand for Renault to largely produce the Clio 4 in France and has asked the government to explain its move.

European Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said in a statement the commission would seek assurances that a French pledge last year to grant public funds to auto makers would not affect the ability of companies to develop their activities freely.

Estrosi said that a decision on raising the stake "will be the fruit of the discussion between the president of the republic and the president of Renault."

Government moves would depend on the extent to which Renault took France's desires into account, given the size of its current stake, he said.

"Does the president of Renault consider that from now on we are a stakeholder with 15%, which merits respect and does not have to be subjected to decisions without us being associated with them, or not?"

Renault declined to comment to Reuters on the interview with the minister.

Renault director Jerome Stoll said earlier a compromise was possible in the dispute after the company reported a 3.1% drop in 2009 global vehicle sales.

Estrosi said that the government's attitude towards Renault reflects a push by the authorities to strike a balance between interventionist policies to protect jobs and allowing companies to act freely.

The minister also said he wants to protect French car parts suppliers by ensuring that French automakers source more parts locally.