The auto industry could see a favorable shift in safety and regulatory policy with the seating of the new Congress, Automotive News predicts. With issues revolving around climate change legislation and the impact of “greenhouse gases” on the environment and human health, car makers could see their profit margins increase if industry-friendly policies win out over increased regulations, which is the expected direction of the Republican-led House.
Still, there could be a stalemate on issues relevant to automakers, as the Republican-led House and Democrat-led Senate fail to come to a consensus on many pertinent issues. Democrats will tug for environment-favoring policy and increased regulation, while Republicans will look to decrease regulatory authority of the EPA and the banking industry, which finances consumer automotive purchasing.
Toyota is among the first companies to scout government relations staff. The Japanese automaker is in search of a new chief lobbyist, after Josephine Cooper, who held the position previously, left to start her own firm. According to the Senate LDA database, Toyota (all Toyota affiliates) spent over $5million in the first three quarters of 2010 alone.
The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers has been particularly vocal on environmental regulation, safety standards, and consumer lending practices, and in light of what it sees as possible favor from the new Congress, will likely bolster its lobbying spending above the over $10million it has spent through three quarters in 2010.