Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) and Nissan have been awarded multi-million-pound loans from the European Investment Bank (EIB) to fund research into green vehicles.
The news comes as a well-needed boost for the struggling car industry, which has seen sales fall by 30% in the first three months of 2009.
Under the EIB deal, JLR will receive a £340 million loan, while Nissan's Sunderland plant and its factory in Spain will also be given a £380 million green-car loan.
The approved long-term loans have been guaranteed by the UK Government as part of its £2.3 billion package for the UK motor industry, which was announced by business secretary Lord Mandelson.
JLR, which has plants in Castle Bromwich and Solihull in the West Midlands as well as Halewood on Merseyside, has welcomed the news, saying it is a "significant investment".
It added that the money for environmental technologies is "crucial for the future" and is part of a £800 million commitment to green cars.
The company said: "Access to the funding is subject to a number of due diligence and commercial loan criteria including partial backing by the UK's Government guarantee scheme that we will be working to complete as quickly as possible."
© Press Association 2009