WASHINGTON - General Motors and Ford are taking steps to dissolve the American Automobile Manufacturers Association, the trade organization that represented them and Chrysler Corp.
The two companies don't know exactly what will replace their organization.
The merger of Daimler-Benz and Chrysler ended the former 'all-American' lobby group, because DaimlerChrysler AG doesn't meet the group's qualifications.
A new group could include all the automakers in the USA, or maybe just big ones who assemble there - in other words, Ford and GM.
GM has proposed an alliance with broader membership but fewer employees, a lower budget and narrower powers than AAMA. It would be chaired by a company with 20 percent market share - meaning only GM or Ford.
'We're very interested in joining with Ford and GM in forming a new association,' said Gil Bamford, vice president of government-industry relations for Toyota Motor Sales USA Inc.
Timothy MacCarthy, vice president of government affairs for Nissan North America Inc., said, 'We expressed an interest in talking to them and discussing the ramifications of belonging to a trade association with the Big 3.'
The Association of International Automobile Manufacturers represents non-US automakers that sell in the USA, whether or not they have plants there. They propose that they merge with the AAMA to make an all-automakers group.
The predecessor of the current group was the Motor Vehicle Manufacturers' Association, represented all automakers with plants in the USA. It was disbanded because the Detroit makers were often opposed to the transplant members.
Andrew Card, the president of the AAMA, has until 10 October to propose a plan to disband the group, including what might replace it.
The organization has a variety of complicated obligations, including office leases across the country, employee pensions and possible severance payments. It keeps industry records and lobbies Congress on automotive issues.