By Rachel Leven - 09/22/11 05:13 PM EDT
Mitsubishi Motors North America is pulling into K Street as it prepares for the launch of a new electric car.
The company has for the first time hired a lobbying firm, K&L Gates, to represent its interests in Washington.
K&L will work for Mitsubishi on “corporate average fuel economy standards,” the firm disclosed in a lobbying registration.
“[K&L] Gates will assist us in educating administration, federal agencies, and Congress on our activities in the U.S., our products in general, and our overall challenges as a limited line manufacturer,” Dan Irvin, the company's director of corporate communications, told The Hill in an email.
“As a very small automaker, we are going to be a much bigger part of the alternate-fuel-vehicle market, with our 'Mitsubishi i' all electric vehicle going on sale late this year,” Irvin said. “So we thought this education effort was vitally important.”
K&L Gates has assigned several lobbyists with Hill experience to lobby on the Mitsubishi account, including former Rep. James Walsh (R-N.Y.) and Scott Aliferis, a onetime legislative director to Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
The value of the contract is not yet known, since lobbyists are not required to disclose fees on registrations.