Shareholder approval of the DaimlerChrysler AG merger marks the end of the automotive industry's political Cold War. Consequently, the American Automobile Manufacturers Assn. has little to do.

So the domestic industry's lobbying arm will disband by the end of this year.

The association's bylaws say members can't be owned or operated by a foreign company. Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Corp. have indicated a preference for forming a new trade alliance rather than amend the bylaws.

That new alliance likely will include any auto manufacturer with production plants in the United States. Ford and GM officials would like to call the new group the Automotive Manufacturing Alliance.

So far, Toyota is enthusiastic about the realignment. But one potential opponent may be Volkswagen AG because the initial outline for the new alliance would require an assembly plant in the U.S. Volkswagen has a plant in Puebla, Mexico, but none in the U.S. Another thorny issue is a proposal that leadership of the group be restricted to automakers with more than 20% of the U.S. market, which currently would put Ford and GM in an exclusive position.