Renault's chief operating officer Patrick Pelata has said the company was in talks with Daimler and others about partnerships.

This followed comments earlier this week by Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche who said his company was talking with Renault and other automakers about joint development of small cars.

It had been reported that Daimler was seeking a partner to help it expand the Smart city car brand and build engines for its Mercedes-Benz B-Class and other compact models. Pelata said Renault's discussions covered various areas of possible cooperation including engines, transmission and platforms.

He told journalists: ""Carmakers are holding discussions with each other. There are a lot at the moment. Yes, we are discussing serious matters with Daimler."

Partnerships and alliances are being sought throughout the industry to cut fixed costs and boost volumes.

Zetsche told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport magazine on 14 February that Daimler likely would announce a partner in the first half of next year.

Some reports have said Daimler and Renault are planning to collaborate on a new rear engine micro car platform for the next generation of Smart cars arriving in 2013 and for the new Renault Twizy electric vehicle.

Automotive News Europe noted that Daimler was said to be developing new three-cylinder petrol and diesel engines for the next Smarts and could also supply those to Renault.

Renault showed a Twizy 1+1 city car concept at the Frankfurt show last September and said it would build a production version in its Valladolid plant in Spain.