Ford and Mazda look set to drift further apart as the US car maker plans to wind down its investment in the Japanese firm.
Reportedly Ford will slash its ownership of Mazda to a few percent from the current 11 percent.
Trading house Sumitomo and other Japanese business partners of Mazda are understood to be in talks to buy the shares.
Sources said Ford wants to sell its Mazda stake to gain more freedom for its Chinese operations.
A three-way venture between Ford, Mazda and Chongqing Changan Automobile is currently seeking government approval to split into two, with Ford and Mazda each partnering Changan separately.
Both Ford and Mazda called the report speculation, issuing similar statements stressing their strategic alliance remained intact.