DETROIT, Sept. 28 (UPI) -- Congressional approval of $25 billion in low-interest loans could boost the flagging U.S. auto industry, Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., says.
The government loans, along with consumer tax credits, are aimed at helping struggling automakers, The Detroit Free Press reported Sunday.
Proponents of the loans say the money will help automakers meet rising fuel economy standards and cushion the drive to reduce consumption of foreign oil.
"For them to do what they need to do, we're going to have to have a major government commitment," said Levin. "We have to change the way we look at industry in America."
The $25 billion in federal loans is the largest federal aid package ever offered to the U.S. auto industry. The plan won final approval from Congress after three months of lobbying efforts that included visits by top industry executives.
Analysts have estimated the loans could significantly reduce the cash needs of General Motors Corp. in 2009, while helping Chrysler Motors to a lesser degree.
Members of Michigan's congressional delegation have said they would seek an additional $25 billion after the elections.
"This is an important first step to providing access to capital for important investments in the future at a time when the capital markets are distressed," Ford Motor Co. officials said in a statement.