With CAFE negotiations heating up, safety regulation coming down the pipe and the UAW pushing for another round of “retooling” loans, GM is upping its profile in the nation’s capitol with a new ad campaign aimed at policymakers. The DetN reports
A Washington-based spokesman for the automaker, Greg Martin, said the effort is to make sure policy makers “are aware of GM’s contribution to our nation’s economic and competitive strength.”
GM has a broader story than just profits and sales, he said.
“GM has started an ad campaign in select Washington publications because there’s more to GM’s resurgence than just increased sales and profitability,” Martin said. “GM is also an auto company investing heavily in America’s future, creating new jobs and inventing solutions and technologies that will make a real difference in energy and safety.”
But the waves of coming auto-related regulations may not actually have motivated the ad so much as the fact that the government is likely to sell off its remaining 26% share in GM by the end of the year (if not by the end of the Summer), and they’re facing an $11b loss at current stock prices. By emphasizing that the auto bailout created a positive corporate citizen rather than just a newly-profitable company, GM likely hopes to convince the government that the political downsides of taking a big loss on The General was ultimately worth it. And that’s an important PR step in the short term as well, as CAFE negotiations are giving rise to bailout-tinged rhetorical attacks on the automaker. For example, Ralph Nader tells the Freep
We give GM billions of dollars, and what do taxpayers get in return? Opposition to a policy that will clearly save them money and give them better cars,