GM says automakers deserve $50 billion in federal loans: report

The rear of the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid concept vehicle is seen during the Los Angeles Auto Show in Los Angeles, California November 14, 2007. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok

(Reuters) - Automakers deserve as much as $50 billion in government-backed loans so that they can build more fuel-efficient cars, according to a top General Motors executive, the New York Times reported.

This is double the amount being currently sought by the big three Detroit-based automakers as they struggle to ride out a steep downturn in U.S. auto sales.

The automakers have already made considerable progress in transforming themselves and the government should help them proceed faster, GM Vice Chairman Robert Lutz said.

“The American auto industry is deserving of government loan guarantees,” Lutz said.

The automakers also want more money given the sudden jump in consumer demand for fuel efficiency and they are urging Congress to act by the end of September so that the money can be available next year.

Reporting by Sweta Singh in Bangalore; Editing by Quentin Bryar