The top U.S. automakers said they are losing billions of dollars, just one day after auto industry executives pleaded with top U.S. lawmakers for help.

General Motors, the largest U.S. carmaker said Friday it lost $2.5 billion in the three months from July through September.  And the number two U.S. automaker, Ford Motor Company, said it lost $129 million over the same period.

Both car companies say slumping sales are forcing them to spend their cash reserves - at a rate of more than $2 billion a month.  That admission worries auto industry analysts, who have been warning the financial crunch and high gas prices could overwhelm U.S automakers, pushing them into bankruptcy.

Ford said it plans to eliminate 10 percent of its salaried workforce to cut costs, and GM is also expected to announce more layoffs in the near future.

Top auto industry executives, and the president of the autoworkers union, met Thursday with top U.S. lawmakers, asking for billions of dollars in loans.

Officials said the car companies are willing to make the same type of concessions some of the country's troubled financial firms made in exchange for government aid.

Before the meeting, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told The Wall Street Journal that chances for an industry aid package would not be good if the automakers continue "doing things the old way."

The U.S. Energy Department said Thursday that the U.S. automakers could start applying for $25 billion in loans.  Lawmakers approved the loan program last month, but the money is limited to projects designed to produce more fuel-efficient cars.

U.S. President-elect Barack Obama has supported a proposal to double the amount of money available through the loan program.  He also promised during the presidential campaign to help the auto companies transition from fossil fuels to newer and cleaner technologies.

Meanwhile, some of the car companies are also looking to Europe for help.

Ford and other carmakers have already approached European governments about $50 billion in loans.


Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.