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Top US Automakers Announce More Layoffs

The biggest U.S. automaker says it will eliminate another 1,500 jobs because of sagging demand for new cars.

General Motors made the announcement Thursday, saying the cuts will come at plants that build trucks, large cars and a plant that produces a two-seat roadster.

U.S. auto sales fell by almost one-third in September with the industry selling fewer than one million vehicles for the first time since 1993. Economists say the auto industry has been hurt by rising oil prices and the global financial crisis, which has made it difficult for consumers to get loans.

A growing number of auto industry analysts have expressed concern that the financial crisis could soon overwhelm the biggest U.S. automakers, GM, Ford and Chrysler, once known as the "Big Three."

GM has denied it is considering filing for bankruptcy, and has reportedly entered into talks with Chrysler about a potential merger.

Earlier, European Union leaders said they are considering plans to offer loans to the auto industry to help car makers meet the costs of producing environmentally friendly cars.

Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said the United States supports major American car companies, so it should not be surprising that Europe is considering similar action.

The U.S. government has offered $25 billion in low-cost loans to help U.S. carmakers develop vehicles that consume less fuel and emit fewer pollutants. The European auto industry is seeking more than $50 billion in assistance since the EU recently voted to impose caps on carbon dioxide emissions.

Some information for this report was provided by Bloomberg and Reuters.