General Motors and privately-held Chrysler, two of the most iconic names in American industry, have held preliminary talks about a possible merger, according to The Wall Street Journal. The paper said that those talks have been put on hold due to the crisis in the financial markets, but if the situation stabilizes they could start up again because both parties may want to move assets quickly.

Private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management owns Chrysler, as well as 51% of financing company GMAC. The Journal reported that Cerberus proposed selling GM all of Chrysler's automotive operations, in exchange for GM selling Cerberus its remaining 49% stake in GMAC.

According to the Journal, GM believes it could save as much as $10 billion in costs with a merger with Chrysler.

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