General Motors is in discussions to take back large parts of Delphi, its one-time in-house parts supplier spun off a decade ago, reports have said.

The Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed sources taking part in the negotiations, said the talks were part of GM’s strategy to obtain additional bailout funds from the US government following an earlier commitment of US$13.4bn of taxpayers’ funds.

The paper also quoted people familiar with the matter as saying GM was also expected to consider closing more vehicle assembly plants on top of nine already announced.

GM has taken more than $11bn in charges for Delphi’s reorganisation, according to Reuters, which noted GM had agreed when it spun Delphi off in 1999 to assume pension and healthcare obligations for thousands of union workers should the supplier be unable to do so.

Delphi has been trying to complete a revised reorganisation plan since investors led by Appaloosa Management backed out of a US$2.55bn equity plan to support its re-emergence last April.

The troubled supplier applied to US bankruptcy court last week for permission to axe health care benefits and life insurance for salaried retirees. A hearing is scheduled for 24 February.

A Detroit paper said the move would affect health insurance benefits for about 15,000 salaried retirees but not 9,600 current US workers – though they would no longer receive benefits after retirement.