Automotive Government Policy & Practice


Dykema’s Automotive Government Policy practice consists of regulatory specialists and government relations professionals serving our clients on federal and state agency and legislative matters. Our partnerships with our automotive clients—from global automotive giants and industry consortia, to small industry suppliers—enable us to represent them with authority, knowledge and tact. Our long-standing relationships with federal and state legislators and regulators assure that our clients’ voices are heard in a range of forums.

Import and Export Issues

Our knowledge of the global automotive industry informs our representation of clients in a range of import and export-related issues such as negotiating and drafting international sales, distributorship and licensing agreements; handling customs, international trade, treaty and immigration issues; and advising clients on international antitrust matters.

Legislation and Lobbying

By maintaining productive relationships with federal and state lawmakers and regulators, we are able to advance our automotive industry clients’ interests by:

  • Lobbying Congress and the Executive Branch on National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reauthorizations.
  • Advocating for revision of NHTSA, CPSC and CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards.
  • Defending industry interests at the state and federal levels against restrictions on specific vehicles such as motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles.
  • Counseling automotive clients in appearances before congressional oversight and other committees examining federal agency rules and regulations.
  • Helping automotive clients secure legislative and agency funding for research and development projects involving new technologies.
  • Monitoring pending legislation from our government policy centers in Washington, D.C. and Lansing, Michigan.

Regulation and Compliance

Experienced in providing compliance representation on a range of issues, we advise numerous vehicle manufacturers, suppliers and collaborations on a full spectrum of regulatory issues, including reporting and recalls, investigations, civil penalty proceedings, safety-standard compliance, interpretation requests, rulemakings, voluntary standards, labels and warnings. Matters we handle are as varied as passenger vehicle safety standards, commercial truck equipment requirements, hazardous material transportation requirements, and vehicle accessibility requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act. We also closely monitor legislative developments that may impact federal agency enforcement agendas.

Our deep understanding of the automotive industry enhances our ability to help clients navigate complex compliance issues related to emerging safety and other technologies, such as advanced safety communications and crash avoidance systems and emissions-reducing technologies. 

Experience Matters

Representative engagements include:

  • Representing a global vehicle manufacturer consortium on legal and policy issues in connection with a multi-million dollar cooperative R&D agreement with a federal agency.
  • Working with a coalition of suppliers, safety organizations, trucking companies and industry associations to promote legislation that establishes a tax incentive for the purchase of specific safety technologies for heavy trucks.
  • Securing nearly $3 million for a study to analyze data about the magnitude of heavy vehicle rollovers and to determine a benefit-to-cost ratio for different types of technology to address the problem.
  • Representing a motor vehicle manufacturer in a penalty investigation by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) into the timeliness of the company’s reporting and recalls.
  • Drafting a comprehensive set of owner manual warnings and instructions for a manufacturer of vehicles for disabled persons and advising the client with respect to safety access requirements for vehicles under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Events & Speaking Engagements