Nissan Motor Co. is the only Japanese automaker seeking a federal loan under a U.S. program for fuel-efficient vehicles. The company is vying for funds with General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co., and Tesla Motors, Bloomberg reports.
The Energy Department funds are part of 2007 legislation that creates tougher fuel-efficiency rules. Any manufacturer can apply as long as the money is used make cars with at least 25 percent better fuel economy at U.S. factories.
The loan program gives preference to companies that use the financing to revamp factories at least 20 years old. Nissan’s Smyrna, Tennessee, plant meets the requirement.
Alan Tonelson, a research fellow at the U.S. Business & Industry Council, faults the program for not requiring that models built using the funds also contain high levels of parts and materials made in the U.S.
Last year, the automaker issued new green procurement guidelines, a set of environmental protocol to augment the Nissan-Renault Purchasing Way. Nissan says the new guidelines will be consistent with its environmental action plan – Nissan Green Program 2010.