Association of Global Automakers
|Type||Trade association, Lobby group|
|President||Michael J. Stanton|
The Association of Global Automakers (Global Automakers) is a Washington, D.C.-based trade association and Lobby group whose members include international automobile and light duty truck manufacturers that build and sell products in the United States.
The Association of Global Automakers represents 14 international manufacturers, including Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Hyundai and Kia. Historically, most Association members imported all of their products into the United States, as of September 2011[update], 33.8% of autos manufactured in the U.S. are produced by its members.
The organization was created in 1965 as the Automobile Importers of America for the purpose of sharing technical and regulatory information regarding the requirements for designing vehicles for sale in the United States. It later changed its name to the Association of International Automobile Manufacturers, providing advocacy services including lobbying, research and analysis, and legal representation for foreign manufacturers in the U.S. auto industry. Prominent issues in which the Association has become involved include trade restrictions, emissions standards and safety regulations.
As of 2012[update], the Association has 14 automaker members including Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Hyundai and Kia. In 2011, member companies employed 81,000 Americans, with U.S. production-facility investments totaling $45 billion. The Association says its members accounted for 42% of all vehicles sold in the U.S and 34% of vehicles manufactured in the U.S. from January to September 2011.
Michael J. Stanton is the Association's president and CEO, and has held this role since 2006. Previously, the Association was led by Ralph Millet (1965 to 1977), George Nield (1977 to 1992), Philip A. Hutchinson Jr. (1992 to 2000) and Tim MacCarthy (2000 to 2006).
The Automobile Importers of America (AIA) was officially formed in 1965. In its early years the organization provided member companies with information on changes to U.S. state and federal regulations that affected the automotive industry. AIA evolved into the primary advocacy resource for many major vehicle importers in the 1970s, opposing trade restrictions and other protectionist laws and regulations that adversely impacted its members.
The 1973 oil crisis led to increased market share for imported vehicles, which were often more fuel-efficient. In response to this trend, Ford Motor Company and the United Auto Workers union accused importers of dumping and unfair trading, and took their claims to trade authorities. AIA represented the importers and succeeded in having the case dismissed in 1975, arguing that other factors led to the market-share changes.
Starting in the 1980s, international automobile companies that were traditionally importers began opening new manufacturing plants in the U.S., leading to an expansion in the organization's focus. In 1990 the organization changed its name to the Association of International Automobile Manufacturers (AIAM). In 2011, the organization changed its name again to the Association of Global Automakers.
The Association represents, advises and advocates for international manufacturers of automobiles and light duty trucks in the United States. Services include lobbying the federal and state governments, providing member companies with research and analysis related to U.S. laws and regulations, and advising them on litigation and legal matters.
Market and trade
The Association helps its members formulate and defend positions against legislation and regulations that tend to make participation in the US market more costly or difficult for international automakers. In 1994, the Association filed an amicus brief in support of a successful appeals decision against the classification of the Nissan Pathfinder as a cargo vehicle, which had effectively raised the import tariff on this and similar vehicles from 2.5% to 25% based on a 1989 law. The ruling, which affirmed a 1993 decision by the United States Court of International Trade, opened the door to Japanese expansion in the US light truck market, in particular the growing sport utility vehicle (SUV) segment. During the 1990s, the Association opposed a move by the Clinton administration to impose a 100% tariff on 13 luxury vehicles imported from Japan.
Fuel economy and emissions
On behalf of its members, the Association develops and advances positions on fuel efficiency, greenhouse gas emissions and other regulations and standards. The Association opposes allowing individual states to adopt standards more stringent than the federal standards for vehicle emissions and fuel economy. It supports the Obama administration's proposed changes to CAFE standards, which would require automakers to improve car mileage by 5 percent annually until 2025, aiming to reduce greenhouse gas pollution.
In 2007, the Association brought a lawsuit against the state of California, attempting to establish that the state had no authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. The Association's argument was that the only method to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, primarily carbon dioxide, is by improving fuel economy and only the U.S. Department of Transportation has authority to establish a fuel economy standard, under federal energy legislation from 1975. As such, California's standards are preempted by federal law. California is able to set its own standards for tailpipe emissions, if it is granted a waiver by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from preemption under the Clean Air Act, as it had begun regulation of air pollution before the EPA was established. The Association also argued that if California and other states did have authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, that would force manufacturers to make vehicles using too many different standards, effectively raising the cost of cars and eliminating model choices. In December 2007, a district court judge ruled against the Association's suit. The Association appealed this decision. In February 2008, the Association issued a statement supporting the EPA's decision not to issue the waiver that would be required for California to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles. The Association's president, Michael Stanton, stated that its interest was not in resisting such regulation, but ensuring that uniform standards are set by the federal government. In 2009, the Association stated its support for an agreement reached by the Obama administration to adopt a single national standard for fuel economy, which led to outstanding lawsuits being dropped.
In late 2010, the Association was part of a coalition of engine manufacturers who filed suit in the United States Court of Appeals to block the Environmental Protection Agency’s approval of an increase of the ethanol content of gasoline from 10 percent to 15 percent. The Association expressed concerns that alcohol-blended fuel could cause damage or problems to engines that were not originally built to run on such fuels. The Association noted that the Clean Air Act required producers of any new fuel or fuel additive to show that those fuels would not contribute to the failure of vehicles or engines to meet emissions standards. The Association and other plaintiffs requested time to conduct studies assessing the impact of an increase in the ethanol content of gasoline on newer model automobiles and small engines.
The Association and 30 other organizations—including Friends of the Earth, the National Black Chamber of Commerce and representatives of the small-engine and snack-food industries—recently signed a letter asking the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology to support a bill requiring more study and scientific evaluation before so-called E15 fuels are approved for consumer use.
Safety and consumer protection
Together with the (now defunct) American Automobile Manufacturers Association, in the late 1990s Global Automakers advocated for U.S. regulators to begin recognizing some of the ECE Regulations, which are used instead of U.S. regulations throughout most of the world.
The Association opposes the Motor Vehicle Owners' Right to Repair Act, the name of several related proposed bills in both the United States Congress and state legislatures. According to the Association, the bill's supporters want not only repair codes, but also design and manufacturing codes, which it argues is an effort by after-market parts makers to access the manufacturers' intellectual property, and is unnecessary as the information independent shops need for repairs is already available online.
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