General Motors did hire advisers to consider bankruptcy but the board decided a filing was not an option, the automaker said last night ahead of a crucial Senate vote on a $14bn rescue package.

The Wall Street Journal had earlier said GM had retained Harvey Miller, a bankruptcy specialist at the New York law firm Weil Gotshal & Manges LP.

It also reported GM had retained restructuring advisers, including William Repko of Evercore Partners, Arthur Newman of Blackstone Group and Jay Alix.

"We said all along that the board had considered bankruptcy and had concluded it was not a viable option," GM spokesman Tony Cervone told Reuters. "The board continues to meet frequently and to weigh all options and has retained appropriate advisers for all contingencies."

The news agency noted that GM chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner has repeatedly said a Chapter 11 bankruptcy proetction filing would see the giatn automaker liquidated because consumers would shun products sold by a company being reorganised under court protection.

Chrysler confirmed earlier it had retained law firm Jones Day as bankruptcy counsel and had engaged other advisers to provide a comprehensive analysis of its options.

According to Reuters, it said it hired Jones Day in response to the congressional hearings in November in which automakers were asked to study why bankruptcy was not a better alternative for restructuring than the loans requested from the government.

The review determined the impact from a Chrysler bankruptcy would devastate the domestic auto industry, the company said.