One of Ford's two Louisville auto assembly plants was named Tuesday as one of several plants nationally that will benefit from a government loan program designed to help automakers produce more fuel-efficient models.
The Department of Energy's Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing program has awarded $8 billion in loans of a planned $25 billion .
The loans announced Tuesday include $5.9 billion to Ford, which plans to use it at factories in Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri and Ohio. Ford has said it plans to transform its Louisville Assembly Plant, which makes Explorers, to produce small cars by 2011.
The government also loaned $1.6 billion to Nissan to retool its Smyrna, Tenn., factory to build electric vehicles and an advanced battery manufacturing facility. The other recipient was Tesla Motors, which was loaned $465 million to manufacture electric drive trains and electric vehicles in California.