Ford has started the process of seeking bids for its Volvo brand.
The process is expected to last until late in 2009 and could be further complicated by questions over the slump in global car sales and Ford's own finances.
Inside sources say that Volvo has received exploratory attention from at least two Chinese car makers.
There has also been talk of a Swedish consortium putting together a bid, amid concerns about the potential leakage of intellectual property to China.
A report in the Financial Times says that potential bidders were given a presentation by Volvo's managers last month in London.
Industry experts believe that Ford is unlikely to recoup much of the $6.4 billion (4.6 billion) it paid for Volvo in 1999. However, the aim of the sale is to cut costs and allow Ford to focus on its core US business.