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Renita Jablonski: General Motors and Chrysler, meanwhile, are stepping up the pace of their merger discussions. As Ashley Milne-Tyte reports, a once unthinkable merger is now very much in the cards.

Ashley Milne-Tyte: GM's turnaround plan was going reasonably well before the economic downturn got into full swing.

George Magliano directs automotive research for Global Insight. He says these days, with credit tight and car sales slumping badly, GM needs a much quicker cost-cutting fix.

George Magliano: General Motors believes that putting the two companies together basically you could close a lot more plants, you could lay off more workers and of course you could cut the overhead and also some possible synergies that, you know as far as purchasing, et cetera.

Magliano says with GM's stock trading around $6, the company would like a deal done as soon as possible. Banks that hold the debt of both companies also support a deal. GM is expected to report gloomy third-quarter earnings in the next few weeks.

In New York, I'm Ashley Milne-Tyte for Marketplace.