DEARBORN, Michigan (Dec. 26) - The chief executives of Ford Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp. met last week, according to news reports Tuesday. Ford declined to confirm the meeting.

There was no word on the purpose of the meeting between Ford's Alan Mulally and Toyota's Fujio Cho, reported by the Japanese newspaper Nihon Keizai Shimbun and The Wall Street Journal's Web site. The papers attributed information of the meeting to unidentified sources.

"We meet regularly with other automakers on a variety of topics of mutual interest," Ford spokesman Tom Hoyt told The Associated Press. "We don't discuss the content of these meetings."

The meeting was in Tokyo, according to Nihon Keizai.

The troubles in the U.S. auto industry in the face of their Japanese rivals' success have led to major restructuring efforts by the U.S. automakers.

For the latest quarter, Toyota, Japan's No. 1 automaker, earned $3.44 billion, while Ford lost $5.8 billion.

The world's No. 1 automaker, General Motors Corp., said in October that it had called off discussions with Japan's Nissan Motor Co. and France's Renault SA on creating an auto-making alliance. Nissan and Renault already are allied.