US: Detroit close to aid package approval

By just-auto.com editorial team | 25 September 2008

The US auto industry is on the verge of securing up to $25bn in low interest government loans to help US automakers modernise plants to build more fuel-efficient vehicles.

The House of Representatives approved a measure - included in a larger, must-pass spending bill - on Wednesday that would fund the low interest financing. The Senate plans to follow through swiftly on the legislative package and President George W. Bush is expected to sign off before Oct. 1.

While Detroit has lobbied hard for the finance in recent weeks, representatives of the Big Three continued to insist the package did not represent a bailout.

The loan programme would provide low-interest credit for up to 30% of the cost of retooling facilities to build hybrids, plug-in hybrids, electric cars and other alternatives.