The biggest shareholder of PSA Peugeot Citroen has said it would be willing to sell some of its stake, opening the way to a potential merger.
Thierry Peugeot, administrator of the Peugeot family's 30 per cent holding in the car maker, told French newspaper Les Echos that alliances could be a key for the company's future development.
Asked whether that could mean diluting the family's stake, he said: "We would be prepared...to examine the question."
He added that increasing economies of scale would be key to reducing costs at the car maker.
Peugeot Citroen is Europe's second largest car maker after Volkswagen AG. Potential partners for a merger include Fiat and BMW.
In the interview, Peugeot insisted the family would not be willing to lose majority control of the company.
"I think that having a core shareholder is a major plus for PSA," he said.
Peugeot Citroen was formed by a merger of Peugeot and Citroen in 1976. Peugeot had been founded by two brothers in 1810 as a steel company, and went on to make bicycles and cars.
Thierry Peugeot is a sixth-generation descendant of one of the brothers.