(Reuters) -
Automakers deserve as much as $50 billion in
government-backed loans so that they can build more
fuel-efficient cars, according to a top General Motors (GM.N)
executive, the New York Times reported.

This is double the amount being currently sought by the big
three Detroit-based automakers as they struggle to ride out a
steep downturn in U.S. auto sales.

The automakers have already made considerable progress in
transforming themselves and the government should help them
proceed faster, GM Vice Chairman Robert Lutz said.

"The American auto industry is deserving of government loan
guarantees," Lutz said.

The automakers also want more money given the sudden jump
in consumer demand for fuel efficiency and they are urging
Congress to act by the end of September so that the money can
be available next year.

(Reporting by Sweta Singh in Bangalore; Editing by Quentin