DaimlerChrysler, Ford and General Motors found a clever way to keep trade issues out of the fledgling Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. The AAM, which includes the former Big 3 and six other automakers, will address only U.S. regulatory concerns that are common to most manufacturers.
For trade issues, the former Big 3 also have formed the Automotive Trade Policy Council. And that may cause other problems.
For example, imagine what happens when officers of the new council start calling on members of Congress or on government agencies.
It will be tough to explain that the old Big 3 American Automobile Manufacturers Association had to be disbanded because Chrysler Corp. merged with German-based Daimler-Benz AG, but now it is OK for DaimlerChrysler to be part of the new council with Ford Motor Co. and GM.
Still, it is good that DaimlerChrysler, Ford and GM are trying not to drive a wedge between themselves and their new AAM partners, especially the Asian-based companies.
But the former Big 3 must take care that creating the council does not send the wrong message about their sincerity and confidence in building an automotive world without national borders.
By the same token, overseas-based companies, especially those with Asian parentage, have an obligation to increase pressure on their governments to take the steps that will help make the Automotive Trade Policy Council unnecessary.