American carmakers recently secured a multi-billion dollar loan guarantee from the federal government but their counterparts across the pond haven’t been so lucky. Late last year the European Commission approved plans to provide up to $6 billion to its automotive industry, far short of the $55 billion in loans Europe’s carmakers had been hoping for, and since then no aid package has been finalized.

According to a new report, BMW is now considering applying to the German government for a state guarantee to back up its borrowings. The news was first reported by Bild Zeitung, which claims BMW Group – which includes the sales of BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce - is reeling after its sales worldwide dropped 4.3% for 2008. Late last year, Volkswagen also approached the German government seeking guarantees for its financial divisions to cover refinancing of car loans in December.

Incidentally, BMW was one of the most vocal carmakers to criticize the aid package being offered to the Detroit 3. The German carmaker said the aid package would only serve to “distort competition” in the industry and that it should be offered to more companies.

Other countries around the world to start offering state aid to their local automotive industries include Australia, Canada, Spain, and the UK.

Meanwhile, BMW announced today that it would reduce the working hours for more than 26,000 German employees as part of efforts to slow production. The cuts will be limited to facilities in Dingolfing, Regensburg, Landshut and Berlin.