LONDON (Reuters) -- DaimlerChrysler has hired Goldman Sachs to screen approaches for Smart, its loss-making small-car unit, the Financial Times reported on Monday.
Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche said he hoped to turn round the Smart business, but confirmed Goldman had been appointed to filter unsolicited approaches from potential buyers or partners, according to the report.
"As long as we are working on Plan A we don't need to talk about Plan B," he said in an interview with the British newspaper. "I definitely support the team (at Smart) in its confidence."
Citing unnamed investment bankers, the newspaper said Goldman had actively approached investment banks to gauge potential interest from investors who specialize in troubled companies.
Zetsche told the newspaper the company would consider partnerships between Smart and other groups.
"Any potential opportunities of co-operation will not be ruled out," he said.
The company said on Sunday that Smart reached its sales target in 2005 and its new business model was on track. It said sales at the mini-car brand rose 2.4 percent to 143,000 units, the seventh consecutive year of sales gains.