Chery Automobile, which makes the popular QQ brand car, is considering calls by Italian carmaker Fiat Auto to expand their existing co-operation. Fiat president Sergio Marchionne 'has approached us for deeper co-operation in the future. He also showed an inclination to set up a joint venture, but we have not yet expressed our intentions,' Chery spokesman Wang Wei said. Fiat and Chery signed an engine-production agreement in October last year under which the mainland company would supply engines for Fiat cars worldwide. Chery, the mainland's fourth-largest passenger vehicle maker, is expected to supply Fiat with 100,000 engines annually. Chery will register a new subsidiary to team up with Fiat in an attempt to remain an independent brand, the China Daily reported yesterday, Fiat, which has had a joint venture with Nanjing Automobile since 1999, is looking to expand beyond that partnership as it struggles to take a significant mainland market share. At the same time, Nanjing Auto is developing an own-brand car after acquiring MG Rover. Each global carmaker is restricted to two joint ventures with Chinese carmakers. Chery, which is owned by the government of Wuhu in Anhui province, is targeting sales growth of 29 per cent this year from 305,000 units last year, when sales jumped 61 per cent. The company, which is looking to expand into the United States and Europe, last year agreed to produce small cars for DaimlerChrysler's Chrysler Group to be sold globally. Chery has not provided further details. The company aims to roll out seven new models this year and sell shares in both Hong Kong and mainland stock markets.