There aren’t many industries as big, diverse, and powerful as the auto industry. Perhaps the most significant single sector in the world, as well as the management techniques, organizational structures, management practices, and especially the way in which they respond to environmental demands that are embraced by this business, are crucial in their own right as well as impacting other industries. The products from this industry influence our lives not just by providing the mobility of millions of people; however, they also bring many challenges. The decline in local indoor air pollution in the urban environment, as well as global issues like global warming and the handling of vehicles that have been scrapped, are but some of the problems. The introduction paper in this Special Issue argues (Orsato as well as Wells) that the solution to environmental concerns must be done with the other economic issues that the auto industry is currently facing, particularly over-capacity, market fragmentation, and saturation as well as capital insufficiency; and the constant struggle to achieve adequate profit.
The articles that were selected in the Special Issue on Automobile Industry and sustainability reflect the variety of environmental issues related to the automotive industry and the diverse academic treatment of a variety of disciplines. As the editors of this Special Issue, it was necessary to reflect diverse perspectives on both theory and research that would capture the essence of what the research frontier was in relation to the industry without being too prescriptive or placing a specific theoretical area of study. In the same way, it was evidently important to evaluate proposals in terms of quality and innovation as well as for a wide scope of taking into consideration the technological and business aspects of sustainability in relation to the automobile industry. Additionally, it was crucial to collect the opinions of scholars from a range of geographical locations. The result is a distinct issue that could be described as multi-disciplinary, multicultural and multi-national.
Academia usually is organized into schools of thought in which are diverse theories and methodologies that are thought to be a meaningful intellectual endeavor. In this regard the emphasis on the industrial sector is atypical (though the previous special issues of the Journal of Cleaner Production have been able to concentrate on specific sectors) however, it is becoming more relevant. The reason we believe this is so is based on the nature of sustainability-related discourses and where the need for multidisciplinary analysis is the strongest. This special issue aims to show the need for a variety of strategies and theories to be brought into the discussion of the core question: how can we ensure a sustainable auto industry, and how can that help our society be more eco-friendly?
The papers are mostly a reflection of an underlying perspective: that sustainable mobility (whatever that may be) cannot be delivered by an industry or production-consumption system that is itself unsustainable. In all the talk about the diversity of our society it is the responsibility of editors to arrange all the articles in a rational manner and to provide the philosophical foundations upon the basis of the selection and scope of the papers are based. The rest of the introduction chapter aim to give that explanation.