Varieties of Capitalism and Climate Change
Chapter 3: The Car Industry and Climate Change
The strategies of the major automobile producers are more diverse than is often realized, a fact not unrelated to their national origins. (Dicken, 2003: 397) So far, the case has been made for an institutional analysis based on the Varieties of Capitalism approach. However, the car industry itself has only been touched on briefly. The point made in Chapter 1 was that while it is global in its reach, its productive assets, production, employment and even sales are concentrated in a handful of states. The dominant ones are the industry’s three hubs of Germany (and the EU which German firms dominate), the United States and Japan. In addition to geographical concentration, it was also shown that production is concentrated in a handful of firms hailing from these states. This allows us to focus on these three states, and the major firms based in them, in order to answer the central questions posed. The aim of this chapter is to expand on the features of the car industry highlighted so far, focusing on the key environmental initiatives it is undertaking to reduce its environmental impacts. Some sobering statistics were quoted in Chapter 1 to highlight the magnitude of the environmental impacts wrought on the world by the industry. But how are we to analyse these impacts? The problems are too complex and multifaceted. If the car industry is a crucial case for addressing environmental sustainability, what crucial aspect of the problem illustrates the whole? The case is made for why the...
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