Climate and Energy Benchmark

Measuring the world's 30 most influential automotive manufacturers

The Automotive Benchmark measures and ranks the world’s leading auto manufacturers. Will they meet the well below 2-degree goal set by the Paris Agreement? Are they doing what’s necessary to move to a low-carbon economy?

Rising sea levels, record high temperatures, severe flooding and droughts: the climate crisis has reached a critical juncture. In this state of play, the transport industry is responsible for 15% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Within this, the automotive sector has a crucial role to play in moving the world towards a low-carbon future. Racing towards the fifth anniversary of the Paris Agreement in 2020 and quickly approaching COP26 in 2021, car companies can choose to lead on decarbonisation, by committing to and actively pursuing ambitious emissions reduction targets.

In 2019, we launched our first iteration of the Automotive Benchmark, which measured the progress of 25 keystone companies in the sector towards the goals of the Paris Agreement.

In 2020, we refreshed the results of this Benchmark with a Performance Update, and assessed the same 25 companies and 5 new ones in the sector on their progress towards low-carbon leadership and ambition.

Eight key findings

Across the 2019 Automotive Benchmark launch and the 2020 Performance Update of the 30 most influential auto manufacturers, it stays consistent that these companies are not on track to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. While we see that most companies have some transition plans or an existing low-carbon vehicle on the market, most are not yet doing enough to reduce emissions at the rate needed to meet the well below 2-degree pathway.

To make the necessary impact, the industry needs to lobby towards policy that supports a climate positive future, rapidly increase sales of low-carbon vehicles and have more ambitious transition plans. Considering the influence and emissions contributions of the automotive sector in this picture, these keystone companies have a clear responsibility to generations ahead to proactively change their high-emissions business model.

Read our 8 key findings across the launch of the Performance Update of 2020 (30 companies) to the Automotive Benchmark in 2019 (25 companies) below in descending order.

Key finding

Companies see an electric future, but their ambitions are low (2020)

20 out of 30 companies do not have publicly available vehicle in-use emissions reduction targets with a meaningful timeframe. Amongst those who do, just half are sufficiently ambitious enough to meet their well below 2-degree pathway. 

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Key finding

Electric vehicle sales are still not rising fast enough for the Paris goals (2020)

The combined low-carbon vehicle sales of the 30 automotive companies increased from 0.27 percent of total sales in 2014 to 2.29 percent in 2019.  However, this is still far away from the 6.2 percent required in 2019 under the sector’s well below 2-degree decarbonisation pathway.

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Key finding

A just transition is undermined by a disconnect between human rights and climate issues (2020)

In this crossover between our Corporate Human Rights Benchmark (CHRB) and the Automotive Benchmark’s Performance Update for 2020, the research raised a startling outcome: almost no correlation could be found between a company’s relative performance on either benchmark, suggesting an alarming disconnect between actions on climate and human rights issues.

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Key finding

Decarbonisation. The automotive industry is in the slow lane (2019)

All but one of the companies assessed realise over 90% of their sales from high emission vehicles. They need to set targets and plan the transition to low-carbon models.

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Key finding

Driving with the brakes on. Companies are not selling enough low-carbon vehicles (2019)

Companies need to make more electric or low-carbon cars and commit to new technologies. For most of the companies benchmarked, low-carbon vehicles account for only 1% of sales annually.

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Key finding

The automotive industry is not persuading customers to take a different road (2019)

The automotive industry is renowned for its high profile marketing campaigns. Unfortunately, this influence is not being used to actively shift consumer choice away from high emission vehicles.  Only half the companies benchmarked showed some discernible effort in this area.

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Key finding

Companies are not positively engaged with climate policies (2019)

There is an industry-wide reluctance to publicly commit to a positive, transparent and proactive approach to climate policy. In fact some companies actively lobby against climate positive legislation.

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Key finding

The future of mobility. Who will drive the change? (2019)

Auto manufacturers have a huge business opportunity. By building new models and creating new modes of transport for tomorrow’s world, the low-carbon economy.

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Find out the performance of the car companies

Go to ranking

Module-level findings

How did the 30 companies perform on each module in 2020? Which have improved against their 2019 scores? Explore our in-depth findings here.

The 30 most influential auto manufacturers

Locations

  • Title: Groupe PSA
    Place: France
    Description:
  • Title: Renault
    Place: France
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  • Title: BMW
    Place: Germany
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  • Title: Daimler
    Place: Germany
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  • Title: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
    Place: United Kingdom
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  • Title: Ford
    Place: USA
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  • Title: General Motors Corporation (GM)
    Place: USA
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  • Title: Tesla
    Place: USA
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  • Title: Beijing Automotive Group (BAIC) (北京汽车集团有限公司)
    Place: China
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  • Title: Chongqing Changan Automobile Company (重庆长安汽车股份有限公司|长安汽车)
    Place: China
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  • Title: Dongfeng Motor Group (东风汽车集团有限公司)
    Place: China
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  • Title: China FAW Group (中国第一汽车集团有限公司)
    Place: China
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  • Title: Zhejiang Geely Holding Group (浙江吉利控股集团)
    Place: China
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  • Title: Guangzhou Automobile Group (广州汽车集团有限公司|广汽集团)
    Place: China
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  • Title: SAIC Motor (上海汽车集团股份有限公司|上汽集团)
    Place: China
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  • Title: Hyundai Motor Company
    Place: South Korea
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  • Title: Volkswagen
    Place: Germany
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  • Title: Tata Motors
    Place: India
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  • Title: Honda Motor Company
    Place: Japan
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  • Title: Mazda Motor Corporation
    Place: Japan
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  • Title: Mitsubishi Motors Corporation
    Place: Japan
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  • Title: Nissan Motor Company
    Place: Japan
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  • Title: Subaru
    Place: Japan
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  • Title: Suzuki Motor Corporation
    Place: Japan
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  • Title: Toyota Motor Corporation
    Place: Japan
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  • Title: Mahindra & Mahindra
    Place: India
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  • Title: Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Group (安徽江淮汽车集团股份有限公司)
    Place: China
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  • Title: BYD (比亚迪股份有限公司)
    Place: China
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  • Title: Great Wall Motor Company (长城汽车股份有限公司)
    Place: China
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  • Title: Kia Motors Corporation
    Place: South Korea
    Description: