first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe Christmas Truce of 1914 proved that peace is possible Still, the fact that GM and Ford fierce domestic competitors for decades would consider teaming up on business matters illustrates the changing landscape of the U.S. industry. While Asian automakers are building new factories and boosting sales, GM and Ford are slashing jobs and vehicle production to match their shrinking market shares. GM was also thrust in July into alliance talks with Renault SA of France and Nissan Motor Co. of Japan. The talks, which are expected to conclude in October, were initiated by one of GM’s largest shareholders, billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian. With potential global deals on the table and competition at a fever pitch, it’s not surprising that Detroit’s Big Two automakers would at least explore cooperative ventures that could save them money, said one industry analyst. “I think they have looked at a lot of things, but that doesn’t mean they pursue them,” said David Cole of the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor. “But they’re always looking.” The July discussions were initiated by Ford as part of the company’s intensive internal review of its struggling North American operations, according to people familiar with the situation. According to those people, Ford approached GM in July about possibly linking up in the areas of purchasing, information technology and human resources. The initial contact was followed by a meeting between the two companies’ CFOs Fritz Henderson of GM and Ford’s Don Leclair. However, nothing came out of the discussion, according to people at both companies who spoke on condition of anonymity. The discussions preceded Ford’s hiring of Alan Mulally as its president and CEO two weeks ago. Ford declined to comment publicly on the matter. “My job is to keep everybody focused on our Way Forward (restructuring) plan and accelerating our results,” Mark Fields, Ford’s president of the Americas, told The Associated Press on Monday. “If we discussed all the speculation that was out there, I think we’d probably spend a couple of days.” A GM spokesman said Monday that discussions between GM and other automakers are not unusual events. “As we have said on many occasions, we often have conversations with other automakers to discuss issues of mutual interest,” Tony Cervone of GM said. “As a policy, we don’t confirm or comment on these discussions which, in many cases, never lead anywhere.” Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford Jr. also has spoken with Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Renault and Nissan, in recent months to keep the door open to possible cooperation in the future should nothing materialize from the GM-Renault-Nissan talks, according to people familiar with the situation. Wall Street showed little reaction to reports of the GM-Ford talks. In trading Monday on the New York Stock Exchange, GM shares closed at $31.48, down 18 cents, and Ford shares closed at $7.82, down 20 cents.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The volatile conditions in the American auto industry led Ford Motor Co. to briefly discuss a possible alliance with rival General Motors Corp. in July. But after an initial meeting between the chief financial officers of GM and Ford, both companies dropped the notion of cooperating in areas such as purchasing and human resources. Both GM and Ford declined comment Monday on an article in the trade journal Automotive News that said the two companies discussed a merger or alliance. However, sources at the two automakers downplayed the level of the discussions and said no talks are ongoing or planned in the future.last_img