Mike Stevens | Mar 4, 2009

While Ford Motor Company has opted to take the high road and avoid seeking government aid on the path to profitability, the immediate future is looking grim. The company today announced a 46% drop in US sales for February.

Ford is the first company to report its sales figures for February, and the numbers from its fellow American manufacturers are not expected to look any better.

It seems that despite the US government’s efforts with bailout loans and stimulus plans, little has been achieved – understandably – in convincing Americans to part with their money on brand new cars during the economic downturn.

New fears emerged today however with news that even Toyota – now the world’s largest automaker after surpassing GM in 2008 – is seeking a loan from the Japanese government.

toyota-sign

Japanese media outlets are reporting that Toyota has applied for a ¥200b (AUD$3.18b, USD$2.03b) loan.

Toyota said that no details have been decided, however the company is expected to report its first annual loss since 1950, this year.

Toyota’s loan application does not mean that the business is in trouble though.

"Toyota is not in danger. It's out to get the lowest price for funding that the strength of its credit can get," Yasuaki Iwamoto, an analyst at Okasan Securities, told Reuters news agency.

"On the balance sheet, it doesn't matter if the funds are private or public."

nissan-headquarters

Nissan is also understood to be considering government aid, though the company is remaining tight-lipped on its intentions for now.

The Japanese automaker – of which Renault owns 44.4% – has forecast a ¥265b loss for the fiscal year through March.

[BBC]

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