GERMANY: As the Frankfurt Motor Show drives into view this week, a key topic of conversation above the purr of finely tuned engines is expected to be growing alliances between the industry's major players.

In press interviews at the weekend Daimler chairman Dieter Zetsche was open to the possibility of closer collaboration between the maker of the luxury Mercedes marque and German rival BMW.

He told Der Spiegel newspaper that a pooling of resources on smaller cars and even engines could become a reality, as the pair already cooperate over hybrid vehicles and their similar technologies.

However, Zetsche gave no firm indications saying: "We are talking to different business partners about different topics and we examine all the possibilities without emotion."

And he dismissed speculation that Daimler would take a shareholding in BMW - or vice versa.

The other hot topic at the show is likely to be growing unrest among workers' unions at Volkswagen, Europe's largest automaker.

They have accused the company's biggest shareholder, sports car maker Porsche, of trying to destabilise management at VW and, in particular, its close cooperation with its workforce.

Porsche has a 30.9% stake in VW but is holding fire at present on upping its shareholding.

Data sourced from Financial Times online; additional content by WARC staff