The former Big 3's American Automobile Manufacturers Association was the 31st most influential organization in Washington in 1997 and slipped to No. 57 in 1998, according to a survey conducted for Fortune magazine. Then the association was disbanded.
The new Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, representing U.S.-based and overseas-based carmakers, was not included in the 1999 survey because alliance officials declined to be labeled AAMA's successor and did not meet other criteria, said Fortune. The main criterion was spending at least $2 million on federal lobbying.
Though the alliance is now almost fully staffed, it still may not pass that hurdle in 2000, said Vice President Gloria Bergquist. It has a $19 million budget, but only a small percentage is devoted to direct lobbying. Besides, she said, clout should be measured in results.