Mazda Motor Corp is negotiating to take control of UK sales from MCL Group, as part of plans to own 70% of its European distribution network by the end of the year.
A spokesman for MCL, a venture owned 60% by Itochu and Inchcape Plc, said talks were at a “formative stage”.
Mazda, which already owns the networks in Germany, Spain, Italy and Portugal, this week confirmed the purchase of Inchcape's distribution unit in France for £11.4m.
Mazda is owned 33.3% by Ford and announced in March that it would start producing passenger cars at Ford's Valencia plant in Spain from 2003.
Jan Brentebraten, president of Mazda Motor Europe, said that in France Mazda would grow its business by investing in new products.