Ford and China's Changan Automobile Group have not talked about selling Volvo Car to the Chinese automaker though Ford executives met with Changan officials to inform them "as a courtesy" that Ford was looking for a Volvo buyer, a person "familiar the with the situation" told the Wall Street Journal Asia.

Ford said in a statement on Tuesday (9 December) it would "not comment on speculation or rumours" after a Chinese newspaper, citing an unnamed source, had reported that Ford was in talks with Changan Automobile Group, parent of its Chinese joint venture partner, Chongqing Changan Automobile, about a sale of Volvo Car.

A Volvo Cars spokeswoman in Sweden said the matter was "an ownership issue" and it was up to Ford to comment. A Ford spokesman said the company did not comment on speculation, adding that the Chinese reports were just that.

A report last week said Ford was believed to be looking to sell Volvo for as much as US$6bn, close to what it paid a decade ago. Ford was also reported to have contracted JPMorgan Chase & Co as an adviser for the sale.

It had said earlier in the week it would "re-evaluate strategic options for Volvo Car Corporation, including the possible sale" of the Swedish brand.

"It will take some months to assess all of our available options," Ford said in its statement today.

A Ford, Mazda and Changan joint venture in China builds Volvo, Ford and Mazda models.

Changan spokesman Zhou Qin told Dow Jones the company's president had talked to senior Volco and Ford executives but he didn't know what was discussed.

The National Business Daily on Tuesday, citing an unnamed source at the Chinese company, had reported that Changan president Xu Liuping held discussions with Ford and Volvo during last month's Guangzhou motor show, according to Reuters.

The report quoted an unidentified Changan executive as saying there was a chance for a deal.

Industry sources have told the news agency that US auto companies have approached a range of Chinese companies about possible asset sales, but deals would be difficult to reach because of the risks involved as both the US and Chinese auto markets slow sharply.

Reuters noted that Chery had secured a US$1.45bn loan from Import-Export Bank of China this week but had said it would use the money to improve its product quality rather than buying US assets.