Government figures tried to bring Nissan Motor Co. and Honda Motor Co. to the table for merger talks this year, but the project fizzled out due to the companies’ rejection of the idea, the Financial Times reported Sunday.

The suggestion was made to the major automakers at the end of last year, amid intensified global competition in the auto sector to shift toward self-driving electric vehicles, the international business paper said, citing three people familiar with the matter.

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