Connecting with consumers on DEI and sustainability expectations in the auto industry

March 30, 2023

Women driving car with dog

Diving deeper into our 2022 Higher Impact research, we explored consumer sentiments from across Canada, Germany, Japan, the UK, and the US in connection with five industries (Fashion, Health & Beauty, Travel, Grocery, and Auto) to better understand how they feel about the role of brands around the issues of sustainability and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).

Automotive brands have an opportunity to set impactful examples in DEI and sustainability

Considering how critical transportation is to consumers’ everyday lives, automotive companies have the opportunity to pave the way for other brands to envision a more equitable and sustainable future.

Consumers want to see automotive companies fueling initiatives in DEI


39% of respondents surveyed believe it’s very important that auto brands they purchase from are committed to DEI.


And almost half (46%) of respondents will research an auto company’s DEI commitment.

Committing to DEI takes more than just a statement of values

Having a diverse workforce with a multicultural workforce and representation in upper management are the top ways that surveyed consumers said automotive brands can show commitment to DEI.

Consumer interests and purchases—including vehicles—are shifting to be more sustainable

Consumers have many options to consider in their automotive purchases, and are starting to put significant weight on sustainability in their decisions.


62% of consumers surveyed are considering an automotive brand’s commitment to sustainable practices before they make their purchase.


46% of respondents say they’ll do their own research on the subject, showing how seriously consumers take climate concerns in a time of shifting attitudes.

Lowering emissions is just one way that consumers want to see auto brands shift toward a more sustainable future

With sustainability and climate efforts top of mind, consumers are looking for automotive companies to continue to lower emissions, increase availability of sustainable vehicles, and prioritize environmentally friendly production to show their commitment to sustainability.

Consumers surveyed defined a commitment to sustainability for automotive brands as:

Women leaning on a car and posing

Lowering emissions and air pollution

Women charging a car

Switching to hybrid car production and increasing availability of hybrid vehicles

Women leaning on top of a car and thinking

Producing environmentally friendly vehicles

See how brands like Hyundai are leading with their values and prioritize sustainability as a key focus for customer transportation in the future.

As consumers explore the impact they can make to protect the climate, cost is a major obstacle

Nearly a third of respondents (31%) think sustainable automotive products are too expensive, opening up opportunities for brands to acknowledge and address this concern.


Brands can take steps to build trust

With global consumers surveyed having DEI and sustainability top of mind, here are some actions brands in the automotive industry can potentially take:

  1. Align purpose with action to demonstrate a commitment to sustainability and DEI
  2. Center brand strategy on consumer needs to build trust and credibility
  3. Make sure customers connect with your brand story by showcasing sustainability and DEI efforts through channels and solutions like Streaming TV, audio ads, and other multi-objective brand-building strategies

Source: Amazon Ads with Environics Research, 2022 Higher Impact study, CA, DE, JP, UK, and US.