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Toyota, Honda, Mazda May Ask for Government Bailout

Posted: Mar 04, 2009 10:13 a.m.

The Japanese auto industry may not be immune from the forces reshaping the auto industry after all. Three of Japan's largest automakers are expected to approach the Japanese government asking for financial assistance as soon as today.

Bloomberg reports, "Toyota, forecasting its first loss in 59 years, may ask Japan's government for 200 billion yen ($2 billion) in loans for its credit unit as private financing has become too expensive, public broadcaster NHK reported yesterday, without naming its source." Toyota , the world's largest automaker, suffered a 40 percent sales drop in February.

The company is already "in talks with a Japanese government-backed bank on possible lending," the AP reports, "underlining the serious woes facing the car industry amid plunging global sales. Toyota Motor Corp. said no details had been decided," but on the news, Japan's Nikkei index "flirted with 26-year lows."

The company is not alone, according to the Wall Street Journal. "Honda Motor Co. said it is seeking a government loan to help shore up funds at its U.S. operations, becoming the latest Japanese auto maker to ask for Tokyo's help in doing business abroad."

A separate Bloomberg report adds, "Mazda Motor Corp. is also considering a request for government loans, spokesman Toyota Tanaka said today."

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