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Ford to Get Loan to Develop Fuel-Efficient Vehicles

The Energy Department is lending money to the Ford Motor from a $25 billion fund to develop fuel-efficient vehicles, congressional officials said Monday.

Ford

Energy Secretary Steven Chu was scheduled to make the announcement Tuesday in Dearborn, Michigan, the officials said. They requested anonymity because an official announcement was pending.

Dozens of auto companies, suppliers and battery makers have sought a total of $38 billion from the loan program. Ford has asked to receive $5 billion in loans by 2011, but it was unclear how much funding the automaker would receive.

The Energy Department did not immediately comment on the plans. Chu has not yet announced the first recipients of the loans, which have been closely watched by members of Congress from states with auto plants and suppliers.

Congress approved the loan program last year to help car companies and suppliers retool their facilities to develop green vehicles and components such as advanced batteries.

The loans were designed to help the auto manufacturers meet new fuel-efficiency standards of at least 35 miles per gallon by 2020, a 40 percent increase over current standards.

General Motors and Chrysler Group have received billions in federal loans to restructure their companies through government-led bankruptcies, but Ford avoided seeking emergency aid by mortgaging all of its assets in 2006 to borrow about $25 billion.

General Motors has requested $10.3 billion in loans from the program while Chrysler has asked for about $5 billion in loans. The department has received requests from 75 applicants, including Nissan Motor , Tesla Motors and several battery manufacturers.

Ford has sought a total of $11 billion from the loan program and has previously said it would invest $14 billion in advanced technologies over the next seven years. The loan application, which was submitted by the company late last year, would help Ford finance the investment.

Ford spokesman Mark Truby declined to comment.

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