GM, Chrysler, push forward with merger talks

GM, Chrysler, push forward with merger talksWashington - Merger talks between struggling US auto giants General Motors and Chrysler were pressing forward, with a view to concluding them before November 4 presidential elections, the Detroit News reported Saturday.

Added pressure for a deal was coming from private investor Cerberus, which owns 80 per cent of Chrysler. German auto group Daimler still holds 20 per cent of Chrysler.

The two US giants were reportedly keen on the merger happening in the next two weeks, before the elections, in the hope of getting promises for government help from the presidential candidates, the Detroit News reported.

A GM-Chrysler merger would push Toyota out of first place as the world's largest automaker, a title GM lost over the past year.

The two sides met on Friday for further talks. GM is currently burning through about 1 billion dollars a month, and is interested in GM's cash reserves of nearly 12 billion dollars, the report said.

In the past three and a half years, GM has lost 66 billion dollars. The next quarterly report is due in the coming weeks.

Some GM managers, including chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner, are worried about a merger of two money-losing auto manufacturers, the report said. Still in play is the possibility of a Chrysler merger with the French Renault-Nissan.

Earlier Friday, Bloomberg financial news service reported that GM had started looking for a buyer of its gaz-guzzling Hummer sport utility vehicle unit. Hummer sales are down 47 per cent this year so far, dragged down by high gas prices. (dpa)

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