FRANKFURT -- China's top carmaker, Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp., is holding exploratory talks about taking a stake in Fiat, Germany's WirtschaftsWoche business magazine reported on Tuesday.
The report, a summary of which was released ahead of publication on Thursday, gave no source for the information.
A Fiat spokesman declined to comment. Shanghai Automotive officials were not immediately available.
Buying a Fiat stake would be a major stretch for Shanghai Automotive, which is in advanced talks about taking effective control of British carmaker MG Rover via a joint venture.
Shanghai Automotive also acquired a 48.9 percent stake in South Korea's Ssangyong Motor Co. last year for about $500 million.
One banker who follows the sector closely thought it was "highly unlikely" that Shanghai Automotive would pursue a Fiat linkup while still digesting the Ssangyong and Rover deals.
Fiat has expressed willingness to explore partnerships with other carmakers after splitting with erstwhile ally General Motors last month.