Several US media sources have reported that Chrysler owner Cerberus and GM have held talks about a possible merger of GM and Chrysler operations.

Sources told the Wall Street Journal that Cerberus Capital Management, which owns 80.1% of Chrysler, had proposed trading its automotive operations to GM in return for GM's stake in GMAC Financial Services.

The New York Times reported that people close to the talks said the chances are 50-50 that the negotiations will lead to a GM-Chrysler merger, although a merger could be weeks away.

The newspaper also reported that Cerberus is touting Chrysler to the Renault Nissan Alliance (Carlos Ghosn may still be interested in expanding the alliance in the US).

GM spokesman Tony Cervone told the New York Times: "Without referencing this specific rumour, as we've often said GM officials routinely discuss issues of mutual interest with other automakers."

Both companies have suffered financially as the US market has fallen away this year on the back of the credit crunch and higher oil prices. Analysts now say the outlook for 2009 has worsened in recent weeks and a coming together of the two firms would be a way to take out further cost.

GM was in the running for Chrysler when DaimlerChryser split last year.

Talks have reportedly been suspended due to the ongoing global financial crisis.