The Changan-Ford-Mazda partnership in China is awaiting government approval for a restructuring amid continuing rumours of a possible termination of the three-way tie.

The future of the partnership has been doubt since Ford cut its controlling one-third stake in Mazda to 13% in 2008 to free up cash.

Analysts said that one option may be to split the venture into two 50-50 ties between Chongqing Changan Automobile and its two foreign partners.

Mazda declined to comment but said in a statement the partners had submitted a restructuring plan for the venture to the government which would further strengthen their business in China.

The statement said: “The three-way partnership has been successful over the years. However, all partners are constantly assessing new opportunities to further optimise our business structure and operations so as to continuously improve our products and services to further satisfy our growing customer base in China.”

Mazda also confirmed that venture was considering expanding its 160,000-unit plant in the eastern city of Nanjing.

Mazda started making the 6 in China in March 2003 through a technical cooperation pact with FAW Group, China’s second largest automaker. It joined Ford’s car making venture with Changan three years later, which now makes the Mazda 2 and 3 as well as Ford’s Focus, Fiesta, Mondeo, S-Max and Volvo’s S40 and S80 models.

Following Geely’s purchase of Volvo from Ford earlier this year it is still unclear where the Swedish brand models will be made in China in future.

Later this year, the 3, which was previously made in the venture’s Chongqing plant, will be assembled at the Nanjing plant, which now produces Ford’s Fiesta and the 2.

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