Auto Bailout: Et Tu, Toyota?

There's a surprising addition to the list of automakers asking for billions of dollars in bailout funds. Until Moody's and S&P cut Toyota's (TM) ratings last month to their second-highest rating, the company had been one of the handful of nonfinancial companies in the world with the highest possible ratings from the agencies. Even after the recent one-notch downgrades, the Japanese automaker's credit rating has remained the envy of rivals like General Motors (GM) and Ford (F). Difficulties raising funds in the U.S. mean Toyota now has something in common with its ailing Detroit competitors: It is following their lead and turning to the state for a helping hand.

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