After nearly three months of talks, General Motors announced that it had discarded a scheme to forge a broad, global alliance with Renault and Nissan.
The unanimous decision by GM's 12 strong-board came after the other two automakers declined to pay a premium for reaping what GM said would have been a disproportionate share of the benefits.
GM said Renault and Nissan which are already linked in an alliance, refused to pay a premium to GM for that imbalance.
Renault-Nissan also wanted to acquire a significant stake in GM - an idea GM was not enthusiastic about, particularly without payment of some kind of premium.
The final straw was that the structure advocated by Renault-Nissan would have kept GM from forming joint ventures with other companies, the US company said.
Renault-Nissan said compensation would go against "the spirit of any successful alliance".
The companies have not given details about the size of the premium or the stake under discussion.
The idea to join the alliance was backed by billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian, who owns a 9.9 per cent stake in GM.
It fuelled speculation that Mr Kerkorian was dissatisfied with chairman and chief executive Rick Wagoner and hoped to replace him with Renault-Nissan chief executive Carlos Ghosn, who is widely admired for leading a turnaround at the Japanese company.
The world's largest automaker lost more than $10.6 billion (£5.61 billion) last year and has been steadily sheding market share to Asian rivals.
But last quarter, if not for restructuring charges, the company would have logged a hefty profit - proof, management says, that the turnaround is working.
Mr Wagoner said the board was concerned the alliance would weigh on the automaker's turnaround efforts.
"We felt that the complexities of working with three companies could slow us down," he said.
The announcement came ahead of an October 15 deadline that the two sides had set for evaluating the proposal and a week after Mr Wagoner and Mr Ghosn met face to face in Paris.
After the meeting, GM officials expressed some scepticism about the proposed alliance. Mr Kerkorian then turned up the heat by announcing he might increase his stake in the company and calling for an evaluation of the alliance idea by independent advisers.
His Tracinda Corporation said it was disappointed with the end of the alliance hopes.
It said: "We believe that General Motors' participation in a global alliance with Renault and Nissan would have enabled GM to realise substantial synergies and cost savings.
"We regret that the board did not obtain its own independent evaluation of the alliance."
Mr Wagoner said all three companies agreed that the benefits were weighted in favour of Renault-Nissan, and particularly in favour of Nissan.
Dominique Thormann, senior vice president for administration and finance at Nissan North America, said all the companies stood to gain, though he acknowledged that "it didn't exactly land 50-50".
David Cole, chairman of the Ann Arbor-based Centre for Automotive Research, said an alliance was not as attractive to GM now as it might have been a few years ago.