Sunday, January 14, 2007

GM says Toyota has more clout in D.C.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007
GM says Toyota has more clout in D.C.
Sharon Terlep / The Detroit News

DETROIT -- General Motors Corp. says it's getting outgunned by Toyota Motor Corp. in Washington, D.C.

Bob Lutz, GM's vice chairman for product development, said the world's largest automaker has had less political pull than the Japanese company for some time.

"Toyota outspends us. They have more congressmen and senators than we have," Lutz told a group of reporters Tuesday at the North American International Auto Show. "Toyota has more clout in Washington than we do."

Japanese automakers have gained political power as they locate factories in the South. Toyota employs 39,000 workers in six North American plants. GM, meanwhile, has seen its work force fall to about 140,000. Toyota's world market share is on pace to surpass GM's this year.

Political pull matters when it comes to issues such as regulatory mandates and tougher fuel economy standards. Harley Shaiken, a labor expert at the University of California-Berkeley, pinpointed public policy, namely the lack of national health care coverage, as one of the main contributors to the woes of Detroit car companies.

Lutz was less than optimistic about GM's status in Washington.

"I try not to go to Washington too often," he said. "I find it profoundly depressing."

© Copyright 2007 The Detroit News. All rights reserved.


Post a Comment

<< Home