A friend told me a story this week which gives some real insight into how sly lobbyists can be. A few years ago in California, Toyota and the US big 3 (GM, Ford and Chrysler) lobbied hard against stricter regulation governing emissions. This seemed odd at first. Toyota have spent years and billions in developing cars that produce fewer emissions – surely they’d want stricter emissions regulations as this would enable them to exercise their competitive edge?
Not quite. As ever, Toyota are a forward-thinking company (see my previous post):
- They understood that they have a competitive edge over the big 3 globally because they produce cars that are more environmentally friendly.
- They understood that the prospect of losing out on a huge market like California might finally move the big 3 to start investing more in hybrid technology and other less petrol-guzzling alternatives.
- Conclusion? They prefer having to compete with the big 3’s SUVs in California than have them invest in R&D which might in a few years make them viable competitors in the global hybrid car sector.
That’s clever. What I’d be curious to know is: Toyota and the big 3 presumably sat down and co-ordinated their efforts at some point. Did the big 3 know they were being duped? And could the Toyota execs and lobbyists keep the smirks off their faces?