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GM denies asking Toyota for help

DETROIT, October 30 – Struggling US auto giant General Motors has dismissed as "pure speculation" a report that it had asked Japanese rival Toyota Motor Corp. for help to revive its business.

According to the report, GM sounded out Toyota on the possibility of GM chairman Rick Wagoner meeting with Toyota\’s leadership in Japan soon, but Toyota declined the offer, Japan\’s Kyodo News quoted unnamed sources as saying.

GM was believed to have asked for assistance including the purchase of its assets to help it raise cash, the report said.

GM spokesman Tom Wilkinson said the two companies held talks "on a regular basis" as part of their joint venture operating a manufacturing plant in California for the past 25 years.

Any suggestion that GM and Toyota were preparing to expand their cooperation was "pure speculation," he said.

The Japanese automaker also denied that it had been approached by GM, saying in a brief statement: "There\’s no truth in the report."

GM, which lost 15.5 billion dollars in the second quarter, has shed tens of thousands of jobs in recent years.

Earlier Wednesday, GM reported its worldwide sales fell 11.4 percent in the third quarter from a year ago to 2.115 million vehicles, leaving the US automaker behind Toyota as the industry leader.

The Detroit giant, struggling in the face of tough economic conditions in North America and fierce competition, remained behind Japanese-based Toyota, which reported sales of 2.236 million vehicles in the quarter.

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GM, the longtime global leader, fell behind Toyota in the first quarter of 2008.

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