TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's state-owned export credit agency has agreed to give Nissan Motor Co up to $2 billion as part of a credit agreement to help it finance car sales in the United States.
The money is part of a $4.1 billion credit agreement for Nissan Motor Acceptance Corporation, a unit of Nissan North America, Japan Bank of International Cooperation (JBIC) said in a press release on Wednesday.
The money should help the Japanese company sell cars in the world's second-biggest automarket after China by allowing it to provide customers with loans that they can repay in monthly instalments, the export credit agency added in the statement.
The United States "is an important market for Japanese automobile manufacturers. Sales finance has become an important tool in business strategy", JBIC said.
"This case provides financial support for Nissan's overseas business development," it added.
JBIC has provided loans for overseas sales financing to other automakers, including a $78 million October agreement with Honda Motor Co in Brazil, and one in September for Toyota Motor Corp in South Africa. JBIC did not disclose the amount for that deal.
The latest agreement with Nissan is more than three times as much as a $582 million loan extended by JBIC in July to help it finance car sales in Mexico.
A JBIC spokesman said the government export credit agency applied the same lending standards as private banks.
Nissan, Japan's third-largest automaker, is focusing on key markets as it pulls back from the rapid expansion led by ousted Chairman Carlos Ghosn.
It is looking to raise market share with new models in the United States, China and Japan as they rebound from a demand slump triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We have financing from a variety of different ways and JBIC is one of them," a Nissan spokeswoman said.
This month, Nissan cut its operating loss forecast for the year to March 2021 by 28%, albeit still to a record of about 340 billion yen ($3.2 billion), helped by a rebound in demand, particularly in China.
(Reporting by Tim Kelly; Editing by Himani Sarkar and Sam Holmes)