You might think that, when confronted with its first major quality crisis, Toyota would have responded by upping its spending on DC lobbying. After all, when Washington has painted a target on your back, it’s usually a good time to hire a few well-connected friends. But then, a good deal of the congressional scrutiny aimed at Toyota has focused on the company’s lobbying efforts in the first place, especially after the House Oversight Committee leaked Toyota briefing documents that showed the company had successfully negotiated away penalties for defects. Perhaps then, Toyota’s decision to reduce lobbying spending in the first quarter of this year was a reaction to accusations that the automaker manipulated the NHTSA. Or maybe the Japanese firm simply decided that its huge lobbying budget simply wasn’t winning it any friends. In any case, Automotive News [sub] reports that Toyota spent a mere $880k on lobbyists last quarter, down nearly a third from its $1.3m Q1 spend in 2009. And, according to the Toyota report cited by AN [sub], defect recalls don’t even enter into the equation, as Toyota merely
lobbied the House and Senate on such issues as making it easier for workers to unionize, patents, financial regulation and energy matters
Meanwhile, as the image above proves, Toyota wasn’t going to be able to match the lobbying power of a GM anyway.