ACEA, the European carmakers’ association, has welcomed the EUR3bn in loans freed today by the European Investment Bank (EIB) to finance automotive projects, most of them concerning ‘green’ investments. 

As  the  EIB has indicated, a total of around EUR7bn will become  available in the first half of this year and its budget allows maintaining similar levels of financing until 2012.

“The arrangement with the  EIB  underlines  the  importance  of  the  automobile  industry  for investments,  R&D  and  employment  in  Europe  as  a  whole,” said ACEA secretary general Ivan Hodac.

However, ACEA said that while the  EIB  loans will contribute to meeting environmental requirements they are  insufficient  to  confront the extraordinary economic circumstances and claimed there is  an  immediate need for access to financing in general.

“At the moment  the  financial  markets  are  not functioning despite billions in government aid to financial institutions”, adds Hodac. Both vehicle sales and  automotive  manufacturing  are  largely  dependent  on  credit  and  financing because of the capital-intensive nature of the industry and the relatively high purchasing price of the product.

“Viable  businesses  are  at  stake and the EU risks doing too little too late,” added Hodac.