Report of GM-Ford merger talks sign of times, analysts say
DETROIT - Executives of General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co. have discussed a possible merger or alliance, the trade journal Automotive News reported Monday. Both companies declined comment on the report.
Automotive News quoted what it said were several people familiar with the talks as saying that discussions involving senior executives began in July and are not taking place now.
The report comes as GM and Ford have been slashing their work forces and closing plants in efforts to reverse multibillion dollar losses. Their sales have been hurt by competition from more fuel-efficient models from Asian automakers.
As the two biggest U.S. automakers, any deal would presumably face scrutiny by U.S. antitrust regulators.
In July, GM, Renault SA of France and Nissan Motor Co. of Japan announced a 90-day review of an alliance among them.
"As we've often said, GM officials routinely discuss issues of mutual interest with other automakers," GM spokesman Brian Akre said before business hours Monday. "As a policy, we do not confirm or comment publicly on those private discussions, which in many cases do not lead anywhere."
Ford Oscar Suris, also speaking before business hours, said: "We're not commenting on speculation."
Talk of alliances involving GM came after GM shareholder Kirk Kerkorian, who owns a 9.9 percent stake in the company, called for GM, Renault and Nissan to pursue an alliance.
Carlos Ghosn, the chief executive of Renault and Nissan, has said the benefits from an alliance would be similar to the gains from the Renault-Nissan alliance, which have included cost savings from joint purchases of auto parts.
Ford earlier declined to comment on an August Wall Street Journal report that then-Chief Executive Bill Ford approached Ghosn about a Ford alliance with Renault and Nissan.
In pre-market trading, GM shares rose 4 cents to $31.70 while Ford shares rose 2 cents to $8.04.
Citing several sources familiar with the talks, the paper said it is not clear whether the negotiations will bear fruit.
As of now, the two companies are not holding talks, and one source says there is a slim chance that anything will come of the situation, Automotive News said.
GM and Ford were not immediately available for comment