The US treasury department has distributed US$5bn in government aid to General Motors and Chrysler suppliers.

The payments were made last Thursday to a pair of special purpose entities that will be used to stabilise payments to the suppliers, Dow Jones Newswires reported. The special purpose company related to GM received $3.5bn while the one for Chrysler got $1.5bn.

GM itself has so far had $13.4bn in direct federal loans while Chrysler received $4bn. Both struggling automakers have been promised additional aid (up to $6bn for Chrysler) if they meet government deadlines (of 1 June and 30 April respectively) to take various debt and labour cost reduction measures.

$5bn is the maximum allocated through the US government's Troubled Asset Relief Programme (TARP) for assistance to parts makers, Dow Jones added.