PARIS -- Renault and PSA/Peugeot-Citroen could become the first two carmakers to win financial help from the European Investment Bank (EIB).
The bank is considering Renault's request for a 400 million euro low-interest loan towards its electric car program. It is also mulling a bid from PSA for the same amount to help finance the cost of ensuring its engines meet future tougher emission rules.
In December, the EIB, which is the EUs financing institution, launched an 8 billion euro program offering automakers and suppliers low-interest loans to develop green technologies.
The two French carmakers are not the only auto companies seeking European financing but their loan requests are "the most mature," according to the bank.
"We are talking about projects to all the automotive manufacturers in Europe, including the subsidiaries of the American companies," EIB spokesman Rainer Schlitt said.
Renault's loan request would cover about 40 percent of a 1 billion euro electric car development program, according to an EIB progress report.
PSA's request would cover about half of an 800 million euro plan to ensure that all its engines meet Euro 5 standards, which go into effect in September, and Euro 6 standards, which go into effect in September 2014.
The EIB will decide on the loan requests in the next few months.
With the U.S. government offering multi-billion dollar loan programs to the struggling Detroit automakers General Motors and Chrysler, the EIB is under pressure to find additional aid for Europe's struggling automotive industry.
European auto industry leaders say the EIB should provide anywhere from 25 billion to 40 billion euros in low-interest loans to help carmakers and their suppliers develop the next generation of green cars.
One option under consideration would be to process loan requests from auto industry suppliers under rules governing other programs, such as those for small and medium-sized firms or through programs aimed at achieving convergence between eastern and central European economies and Western European markets.
E-mail Lawrence J. Speer at [email protected]