If Congress funds a $25 billion loan program to finance production of more fuel-efficient vehicles, General Motors and Ford Motor Co. are poised to take quick advantage.
By contrast, Chrysler LLC trails far behind. And import automakers such as Toyota and Nissan will find it difficult to meet eligibility standards that favor the Detroit 3 and their suppliers.
If Congress were to fund the loans today, they would have an interest rate of 5 percent — a very good deal for the automakers.
The loans could be used to retool assembly plants, engineer vehicles or help suppliers that produce key components.
Last week, none of the Detroit 3 was willing to indicate how it would spend the money. But GM CEO Rick Wagoner appealed to a Senate panel to loosen legal limits on use of the loans. Wagoner told a Senate hearing last week that he was speaking for the Detroit 3 and the UAW.