Honda, Mazda May Seek Aid From Japan

Honda ( HMC), which saw its U.S. auto sales in February fall 38%, may ask to borrow money from Japan's government, and Mazda may do the same, a report says.

The amount of the loans and timing of the request to the state-owned Japan Bank for International Cooperation haven't yet been determined, Honda spokeswoman Akemi Ando said, according to Bloomberg. Mazda also is considering a request for government loans, a Mazda spokesman said.

On Tuesday, it was reported that Toyota ( TM), the leader in global auto sales, was seeking aid from the Japanese government for its finance arm. Toyota's sales in the U.S. in February fell 40%.

Overall auto sales in the U.S. were down 41% from February 2008, but up 5% from January, according to Autodata Corp. and Ward's AutoInfoBank. January marked the industry's worst monthly performance since December 1981.

Sales at General Motors ( GM), the biggest U.S. automaker, fell 53%.

Honda may request at least 10 billion yen ($101.5 million) from the Japanese government, Bloomberg reports, citing a report in the Nikkei newspaper.

Japan's Mazda, which is partially owned by Ford ( F), increasingly needs the funds, mainly in the U.S. and Europe, the company spokesman said. No details have been decided regarding a request for government funding, he said, according to Bloomberg.

Mazda's U.S. sales fell 30% in February.

Copyright 2008 TheStreet.com Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.

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