Volkswagen is seeking to expand co-operation projects with DaimlerChrysler that could include shared transmissions and a European van, German magazine Der Spiegel reported on Thursday, according to Reuters.

It reportedly said VW managers were in talks with their southern German rivals about selling VW manual transmissions for use in Mercedes-Benz vehicles and for letting Chrysler use VW's Sharan van platform for a new vehicle aimed at the European market.

Reuters noted that Volkswagen brand group head Wolfgang Bernhard, a former Chrysler executive, said in February he was looking at further partnerships with rival car makers to help advance a product offensive, and that Volkswagen has already struck deals with Chrysler, which will build a VW minivan for the North American market and also uses VW engines in some models [notably the European specification Caliber launching soon].

Chrysler said in February that VW was among the partners it was considering for a subcompact car in North America, Reuters added.

A DaimlerChrysler spokesman told the news agency he could not confirm the report. Volkswagen was not immediately available for comment.

One industry source approached by Reuters questioned whether premium brand Mercedes-Benz would want to use transmission components from mass-market producer VW.