General Motors may have put a merger with Chrysler in its rear view mirror, but the Pentastar apparently thinks a tie-up might still be a good idea. Chrysler called a potential pairing with the General the "best option" for the Auburn Hills, MI-based automaker, saying that it would reap five times the benefit of a Fiat merger. Chrysler pointed out in its viability report to the U.S. government that the two companies would have more purchasing power, the deal would generate $36 billion in cash and another $40 billion in operating earnings.

Barclays analyst Brian Johnson points out that Chrysler is pushing for industry consolidation, saying that Chrysler feels a GM merger "would create more value than a standalone Chrysler or Fiat alliance." That has to make Fiat feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Tennessee Senator and domestic automaker critic Bob Corker agrees that a merger is in Chrysler's best interests, but questions whether a partnership is in the best interests of GM.

If it seems odd to you that Chrysler would angle for a GM merger in its official report, we're with you. For starters, GM, which initially appeared to be in favor of a merger, pulled the idea off the table back in 2008. Next, consider the fact that both automakers find themselves saddled with too many workers, too much capacity and a glut of dealers. Oh, and both companies need government loans just to stay in business past the end of the first quarter of 2009. Add to that the fact that GM's plan apparently mentioned nothing of a merger, only cuts to brands, workers, plants and dealers, or in other words, downsizing wherever possible.

[Source: Detroit Free Press, Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty]

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