There is mounting speculation that ailing Detroit carmaker Chrysler may not be able to survive as a standalone firm. Negotiators in Detroit are working furiously to secure a deal with Italy’s Fiat Group but if the proposed alliance falls through Chrysler has a number of options as backup.

One of these includes a sale of assets to a foreign firm. Latest reports indicate that China’s Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Corp is interested in some of Chrysler’s assets but the company has refused to comment on the speculation.

State-run newspaper China Business News, citing an unnamed Beijing Auto executive, said the Chinese firm was looking to acquire production facilities and technology to build up its own vehicles. The Chinese government is also said to offering support to facilitate such a deal.

Like most major Chinese carmakers, Beijing Auto is keen to build up a globally competitive brand name and one of the easiest methods is through structured mergers and acquisitions.

The ties between Beijing Auto and Chrysler go back several decades. In 1984, Beijing Auto was the Chinese partner for American Motor Corp. (AMC). A few years later AMC was bought out by Chrysler, which then joined the partnership.