The European Investment Bank’s Board of Directors today approved loans to European-based car makers worth a total of EUR 600m.

One of the loans approved today amounts to EUR 400m for SAAB Automobile AB. The loan will be used for research and development activities for the improvement of fuel efficiency and safety, including new tooling for the production of cleaner and safer cars, subject to the European Commission’s approval of the Swedish state guarantee.

A EUR 200m loan was approved today for Renault, to support a new production facility near Tangiers, Morocco, for manufacturing smaller cars, including the design, civil engineering, purchase of equipment and tooling of the new factory.

Since December 2008 the EIB has approved loans to the automotive sector (manufacturers and suppliers) totalling EUR 7.56bn, of which EUR 4.52bn under the EIB’s European Clean Transport Facility (ECTF). EUR 320m of the EUR 400m approved for SAAB will be provided under the ECTF. The Facility, part of the EIB’s wider response under the European Economic Recovery Package, targets significant cuts in vehicles’ CO2 emissions through research, development and innovation, as well as the production of cleaner and more fuel-efficient cars and other means of transport, and also through tangible fixed assets in related infrastructure and production plants. The remaining EUR 80m is intended to help SAAB improve the active and passive safety of its future vehicles.

Now that the loans have been approved, the contracts will be negotiated and signed, and this will be followed by disbursement in accordance with the progress of the projects. So far this year EUR 3.6bn has already been disbursed to the automotive sector and it is forecast that this figure will reach around EUR 6.0bn by year-end. Further disbursements will follow in 2010.

Note for the editor:

The European Investment Bank was created by the Treaty of Rome in 1958 as the long-term lending bank of the European Union. The task of the Bank is to contribute towards the integration, balanced development and economic and social cohesion of the EU Member States. The EIB raises substantial volumes of funds on the capital markets, which it lends on favourable terms to projects furthering EU policy objectives. The EIB continuously adapts its activity to developments in EU policies.