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Ford Motor Co. increased its first-quarter lobbying spending by 20 percent to $1.67 million as it sought tax breaks for electric cars, incentives for spending on research and manufacturing and other issues.
Ford lobbied Congress on pending legislation that would establish an advanced vehicle research program at the Department of Energy, and on a bill that requires automakers to provide repair and diagnostic information to independent car repair shops. The company also lobbied on legislation that would boost U.S. production and research of rare earth materials such as platinum, which is used in car parts.
Ford spent $1.39 million in the first quarter of 2010 and $1.36 million in the last three months of 2010.
Ford also supported a bill that would boost the number of plug-in electric vehicles eligible for a federal tax credit to 500,000 from 200,000. It also lobbied on loans for auto parts suppliers and incentives for battery companies.
Ford weighed in on the Korea free-trade agreement. The company was actively involved in negotiations last year that led to a deal to open South Korea's auto market. It also lobbied on auto safety and driver distraction issues. Ford's new My Ford Touch system, which lets drivers control climate, entertainment, navigation and other features by voice or through a touch screen, has been criticized by Consumer Reports as too distracting, but the company insists it helps drivers keep their eyes on the road.
Lobbyists are required to disclose activities that could influence members of the executive and legislative branches of government under a federal law enacted in 1995.