JD Power & Associates, the research firm best known for its surveys of cars and other consumer products, has hired a firm to explore options that could include selling the privately held company, according to newspaper reports cited by the Associated Press.

The company has hired Evercore Partners Inc., an investment firm with offices in New York and Los Angeles, according to The Wall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times.

“We’re in the early stage and every option is on the table,” Tom Shaver, a senior partner at JD Power, told AP. He said the company was mulling whether to raise additional funding for “ambitious growth opportunities” that were identified in a recent in-house study.

J David Power III, a market researcher who had worked for Ford and General Motors, founded the company 36 years ago. He is no longer chief executive, but remains the company’s chairman.

AP said JD Power, which currently has more than 600 employees worldwide, built its reputation researching consumers’ opinions and preferences toward automobiles, surveys frequently quoted by auto makers.

In addition to automotive surveys, the company conducts product quality and consumer satisfaction research in 15 industries, including telecommunications, real estate, banking, insurance and travel, the report added.