The U.S. government’s Commercial Paper Funding Facility was established towards the tail-end of 2008. The CPFF was created to offer companies short-terms loan when traditional means of establishing credit were crumbling. Lehman Brothers had collapsed and AIG was taking expensive trips while showing the world its pocket lint, but that didn’t mean that other companies weren’t in need of cash, and Washington stepped in to oblige. According to Bloomberg, among those parties taking advantage of the Federal Reserve program were a long list of automotive clients, German automaker BMW among them.

According to Bloomberg, German automaker secured funding assistance intermittently between 2008 and 2009, with the largest single transaction a reported $3.62 billion. This line of credit helped BMW survive during a time when other automakers were getting by on life support. Some of the funds were used to expand the South Carolina facility that produces X3, X5 and X6 models. While suffering its lowest profit in a decade, BMW was still able to produce a positive cash flow of nearly $2 billion.

Taking a look at the data provided by the Feds (download the spreadsheet here – *Warning: Excel spreadsheet), we see that a number of automakers and compnaies also made use of the CPFF, including Harley-Davidson (33 separate instances totaling $2.3 billion), Toyota, Ford, Chrysler, General Motors and Mitsubishi.

Sources: Bloomberg, The Washington Post


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