Europe's carmakers are to ask the European Commission to lend the industry up to 40 billion euros ($55.4 billion) to help them develop more environmentally friendly vehicles, according to a news report.
The EU wants to drastically cut CO2 emissions by 2020
The move comes days after the US Congress approved a $25-billion program to help major US carmakers to produce green engines and vehicles.
Sergio Marchionne, chief executive of Italian auto-giant Fiat and a former president of the European carmakers association (ACEA) told the Financial Times on Saturday, Oct. 4, that the industry will "approach the commission for a similar idea to that of the US: 40 billion (euros) is a good number given the bigger size of the European industry."
European car producers had been worried that the Congress package would damage their businesses in the US, as the US deal as currently formulated would only assist older car plants, ruling out assistance for European manufacturers operating in the US.
European Union plans to mandate reduced emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) from cars are also a source of concern for the continent's auto industry, particularly amid the current economic uncertainty.
A carmaker source told the FT that "we are on our knees at the moment, so if they want us to invest billions of euros, the commission has to help us out."