Police were called to reports of an aggravated burglary at a house in Farnworth, near Bolton, at about 8.25pm on Thursday.
A red Audi car was stolen in the raid and was then spotted by a passing police car travelling on the opposite carriageway of the A580 East Lancashire Road.
The Audi then went out of sight of the police car and 10 minutes later officers were informed the Audi had hit a number of parked cars in Boothstown, Salford.
Officers attended along with firefighters from the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service as the blazes were brought under control.
The driver and the passenger of the stolen car were pronounced dead at the scene. There were no other reported casualties.
Nine cars and four houses were damaged in the incident.
Assistant Chief Constable Zoe Sheard said: “We are still in the very early stages of our inquiries to establish exactly what happened, so it is important we do not speculate.
“The stolen Audi was lost from sight by the time the officers had turned round to give pursuit, and while they were still actively searching for the car at the time of the collision the Audi itself was completely out of sight.”
Greater Manchester Police has made a mandatory referral of the incident to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.