DaimlerChrysler boss Dieter Zetsche (pictured) confirmed talks were underway with potential partners regarding the Chrysler Group at the firm's annual shareholders meeting on 4 April.

“I can confirm that we are talking with some of the potential partners who have shown a clear interest," said Zetsche. Zetsche added, however: "But it is also true that we need to keep all options open and that I cannot disclose any details because we need to have the maximum scope for manoeuvre.”

The talks throw into doubt expansion plans for the Chrysler Group in the UK which is planning to launch seven new cars this year.

According to a spokesman for Chrysler, “It's business as usual for us until we hear any more from Germany.”

The US Chrysler Group merged with Mercedes's parent Daimler in 1998, however, many industry observers believe Daimler has always had the upper hand in the deal.