Executives from Ford and General Motors have discussed a possible merger or alliance, US-based auto trade newspaper Automotive News (AN) reported in its Monday, 18 September edition.

The negotiations began in July after Nissan Motor and Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn broached the possibility of an alliance among Renault, Nissan and GM, according to several sources familiar with the talks, Automotive News said.

It is not clear who launched the talks. One source said GM CEO Rick Wagoner contacted Ford the day after Ghosn disclosed his plan. A second source disputed that.

In August, GM CFO Fritz Henderson discussed the proposed alliance with Ford CFO Don Leclair, according to a source familiar with the talks.

But it is not at all clear whether the negotiations will bear fruit. As of now, the two companies are not holding talks, and one source said there is a slim chance that anything will come of it.

GM spokesman Tony Cervone declined to comment on the report.

"We regularly talk to a number of people in the industry regarding business opportunities of mutual interest," Cervone told AN on Friday 15 September). "As a matter of course, we don't comment on any of those because in many cases, they simply don't lead to anything."

Ford spokesman Oscar Suris also declined to comment.

To complicate things, GM is studying the Ghosn proposal to join the Nissan-Renault alliance. GM is two-thirds of the way through a 90-day study, which it is conducting with Renault and Nissan.

Ghosn made his proposal that GM join the Nissan-Renault alliance at the urging of Las Vegas billionaire Kirk Kerkorian, a major GM shareholder.