Auto Industry Lobbying Topped $70 Million Last Year

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the automobile industry spent a record $70.3 million lobbying Washington in 2007. The $70.3 million figure represents nearly a 20 percent increase over 2006 numbers, and comes in a year when the industry faced the most dramatic increase in fuel efficiency standards in years. The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and United Auto Workers union fought hard to stop the recent CAFE legislation from passing, but were ultimately unsuccessful in their efforts to delay or decrease the new standards.

The industry did score a victory when the EPA refused to grant the state of California a waiver allowing it to adopt more extreme carbon emissions standards from the those the federal government has in place. California is now suing the EPA in federal court, and according to the Wall Street Journal, success for the state would likely lead to at least 19 other states passing their own standards.

General Motors spokesman, Greg Martin, told The Detroit News that GM’s lobbying activities are “proportional to the potential competitive and economic impact that proposed legislation could have on our business.” GM sunk $14.3 million dollars into lobbying in 2007.


  • babu flubber

    I’d be angry with the auto industry, but how can anyone blame them? As long as the US Gov’t sells legislation to the highest bidder, you’d be foolish not to take advantage, right? GM can’t innovate, can’t build quality vehicles. They have no choice but to manipulate the system.

  • TD

    Its ironic that Detroit’s lobbying has left them at a competitive disadvantage with their Japanese counterparts. Toyota and Honda are eating Detroit for lunch in smaller cars.

  • VaPrius

    Imagine if they used that money to design better cars or to find out what people really wanted out of a car. Pay attention stockholders, when GM goes under the politicians have your money.

  • Need2Change

    I bet the true number is much greater than $70 million. In a company that I worked for, we hid a lot of costs that we didn’t want the public and government to know. if one counts all campaign donations, time that executives prepare and meet with government officials, staff support costs, and other related costs, I bet it’s 4 to 5 times greater.

  • LostUSA

    When people don’t want to change, they get defensive. Their culture of big cars and fuel inefficiency needs to go the way of the Dinosaur. They seem to think they can dictate to buyers the vehicles they want us to buy. As buyers continue to walk or run away from them to foreign manufacturers that know about fuel efficient cars, revenues and not politics will drive them to change.

  • Todd C

    If you look at that CFRP website, you see that GM actually donated $14.56 million in ’07, not 14.3, but hey, what’s $260 G’s amongst friends? A little farther up the list of top contributors: Exxon Mobil, coming in at $16.94 million, aka chump change, aka an hour of earnings. Exxon Mobil (the bil stands for billions) sets a new profit record every quarter, but then they allow AARP ($19.54) to out-donate them in ’07? Very curious. They must be saving up for something. hmm…

    http://www.opensecrets.org/lobbyists/index.asp?showyear=2007&txtindextype=s

  • AP

    Is everyone here forgetting something? Toyota is part of the AAM! Everything you have said about General Motors (and would say about the other domestics) applies to King Toyota too. They fought California’s illegal law to mandate fuel economy. They own the California regulators. You can bet they lobbied for the hybrid trax credits, and to exclude the Ford Escape from getting it because it was too big, and therefore not a “real” hybrid (although it saves more fuel than a base version of the same vehicle).

    You all parrot the message of Toyota. You all drink the Kool-aid. You need to think for yourself! Toyota sells the biggest, most gas-guzzling pick-ups on the market. One Tundra wastes more fuel (compared to a GM pickup) than a Prius saves – thinks gallons/mile, not miles/gallon. They are proud of their gas-guzzling behemoth. Look at their commercials. They advertise the Prius very little now, because it’s selling so hot (because of fuel prices, not because of people’s environmentalism). The Prius is there to make environmentalists like them, so they can sell their big trucks and not be criticized. That is lobbying!

    Toyota has changed from a high-quality company that makes small cars to a PR machine that intends to seem American, even though they are a Japanese-held company that employs 1/10 as many people in the US as GM.

    And you guys are buying it.

  • steved28

    AP, In case you didn’t read the URL on your browser, this is hybridcars.com. What people are “buying” here are hybrids. Please tell me what GM offers to counter my Hybrid Altima, and I will consider it. Because my wife now wants one.

  • L. Patterson

    “AP, In case you didn’t read the URL on your browser, this is hybridcars.com.”

    This is great information, but what does it have to do with hybrid cars? Is see no mention of hybrid in the article, or in many recent articles here.

  • Pablo

    If The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and United Auto Workers union are fighting hard against standards for higher efficiency they are p***ng against the wind. They must read Darwin to learn what happens to species that are not using efficiently their resources.

  • Todd C

    There will always be corporate shenanigans going on, and that includes everyone with a stake in the Automotive industry. That being said, yes of course, Toyota is no angel. Nobody said they were. Yes, they qualify as a member, so yes, they’re part of AAM.

    For the purposes of this website: Toyota offers a great Hybrid vehicle, the Prius, and GM offers vaporware (volt), laughable Saturn garbage and excuses. Yes, Toyota also offers ridiculous gas guzzling pickups, and as long as people will buy them, I don’t expect Ford, Toyota, GM, Honda or anyone else to walk away from high margin business. That problem will work itself out eventually.

    Toyota, along with every other smart business, pays to advertise products they WANT to sell, or sell more of, NOT the products that are already selling like hotcakes. Paying to advertise the Prius would be a stupid waste of money, and I don’t expect that any business would be that foolish. That’s common sense AP, and I don’t need to drink any koolaid to see it.

    If GM, Ford or Chrysler offers a competitive answer to the Prius, I will buy it. So far, they have not. It’s really as simple as that. Outside of that, it’s just noise.

  • BigBill

    American Greed!

  • sean

    Agree w/ you, Todd C.

  • CKMBA

    Obviously, AP has no clue whatsoever about how business works. Companies don’t advertise products that are selling well. That would be a complete and utter waste of money. You advertise and market products that don’t sell well.

  • Shines

    I’m sorry AP who’s drinking the Cool-aid?
    You say:
    Tundra wastes more fuel (compared to a GM pickup) than a Prius saves – think gallons/mile, not miles/gallon.
    When I look at fuel ratings for 2008 vehicles this is what I find:
    Chevy gets 20 MPG highway the Tundra 19 – that’s a 1 mpg difference – nothing close to gallons per mile. The Prius gets 46 mpg highway.
    So based on your misguided logic the Prius would still be saving 45 mpg. For city driving the numbers: 15, 15, 48
    btw I drink Lipton Diet Green Tea with Citrus. 8-D