Ford reviews lobbying as ministerial cars go green

Ford, the motor group that owns the gas-guzzling Jaguar and Land Rover marques, is staging a review of its UK public affairs account.

The move comes at a time when senior politicians are desperate to demonstrate their environmental credentials through the car they use.

The company wants to reclaim the environmental agenda from rivals such as Toyota, whose reputation has been boosted by its innovation in producing lower-polluting models.

Ford has come in for a media mauling, with several ministers abandoning their chauffeur-driven Jaguars for vehicles such as the Toyota Prius, which are deemed to be environmentally-friendly.

A fortnight ago, Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell sold his Jaguar in a bid to highlight his commitment to the environment. And Tory leader David Cameron announced he was discarding his Vauxhall Omega for a Lexus with a hybrid engine.

Incumbent Fleishman-Hillard is believed to be contesting the account against several consultancies.

As well as environmental issues, it is understood that the brief also involves highlighting to policy makers Ford's contribution to the UK economy and jobs. The brief spans all of the company's marques, including Aston Martin and Volvo, which trade as part of the firm's Premier Automotive Group.

Ford Motor Company comms manager John Gardiner said: 'We don't comment on our relationships with suppliers.'

The review is being overseen by UK director of government affairs Andrew McCall. He assumed the role at the end of last year from Madlin Sadler, now special adviser on comms to communities and local government minister David Miliband (PRWeek, 24 February).

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