Ford Motor Co. will consider increasing its 16.9 percent stake in troubled South Korean carmaker Kia Motors Corp., a senior Ford official said.

But Wayne Booker, a Ford vice chairman, said any new investment must be preceded by a further restructuring of Kia, which filed for bankruptcy last summer with $10 billion in debt.Booker told Industry and Energy Minister Park Tae-young about the U.S. automaker's plans at a meeting Wednesday, ministry officials said.

Kia was the country's No. 2 car-maker before the bankruptcy filing last July. The company was placed under court receivership last month.

The government is Kia's largest stockholder, with a 30 percent stake.

At least two South Korean conglomerates - Hyundai and Sam-sung - have expressed interest in Kia. Samsung has sought an alliance with Ford to take over Kia, which produced 780,000 cars last year.

President Kim Dae-jung has been urging big companies to sell assets and slim down.