Toyota's lending unit seeks government funding

TOKYO — Toyota's financing unit is in talks with a Japanese government-backed bank on possible lending, the automaker said Tuesday, underlining the serious woes facing the car industry amid plunging global sales.

Toyota Motor Corp. said no details had been decided. Kyodo News and NHK TV reported earlier in the day, without identifying sources, that Toyota's auto loan unit, Toyota Financial Services, had asked for a $2 billion government loan.

A spokesman for Toyota Financial Services said the talks with the Japan Bank for International Cooperation were among the various ways being studied to gain funding. The lender does 70 percent of its business in the U.S., where sales have been plunging and credit tightening.

The Japan Bank for International Cooperation, which started helping cash-strapped Japanese businesses last year as the global financial crisis unfolded, said it does not comment on individual company matters.

Toyota's projected red ink for the fiscal year through March would mark its first such annual net loss since 1950.