DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co. said it plans to retire up to $5 billion in high-interest debt and tap into the fast-growing market for "green" bonds to help it finance new electric vehicles and expand credit to customers with lower scores.
Ultimately, the automaker aims to regain an investment grade rating for itself and Ford Credit, its captive financing arm, which in turn would lower the cost of future borrowing.
In a media briefing, Treasurer Dave Webb said the company is making a cash tender for "covid bonds" at 8 percent to 9.5 percent interest that it issued in April 2020, at the start of the global pandemic.
Ford expects initially to offer a $1 billion green bond at 3.5 percent to 4 percent interest, to replace some of the high-coupon bonds and to supplement the zero-interest convertible debt it issued earlier this year.
A "sustainable financing framework" announced Thursday will provide Ford with access to new sources of capital, including investors supporting environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives.
New green bonds would enable Ford Credit to extend financing to customers with lower credit scores, but would not require them to buy electric or hybrid vehicles.
Thursday's announcement coincides with the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland and the fifth anniversary of the Paris Climate Agreement.