Corporate Social Responsibility

General Motors and Mercedes Benz attempt to address corporate social responsibility through Eco friendly vehicle production






Corporate Social Responsibility


This paper attempts to highlight on how multinational firms in the motor vehicle industry address corporate social responsibility in their home countries as well as abroad. For purposes of this research, I selected General Motors Company in the United States and German based Mercedes Benz Company, and both companies address on Eco friendly vehicles as corporate social responsibility. The motor vehicle industry is an important representation of the global economic activity with extensive backward and forward links to diverse sectors and industries. This industry has led to significant progress in monetary, fiscal, and regulatory fields, having a direct influence on operations in these sectors (Hiraoka, 2001). Ultimately, this impact has created numerous business and employment opportunities through eased external market access.

General Motors Company is considered the largest vehicle manufacturer in the world employing up to 320, 000 employees. The company’s manufacturing operations extend through thirty two global countries, and its products are sold in over two hundred countries. General Motors Company was established in 1908 Flint, Michigan as a holding company. Over the years, the company gradually expanded and eventually managed to top annual sales for seventy seven consecutive years running from 1930 to 2006 (Pelfrey, 2006). However, the company was dethroned from this slot by Toyota Company from 2007 to 2011. However, the company has an aim of regaining its foothold as the leading automaker in 2012.

The Mercedes Benz Company is a wholly owned corporation established in 1871 by Benz and Cie. The first vehicles to bear the Company’s brand name were manufactured in 1926 following an amalgamation between Karl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler. The Mercedes Benz Company is renowned for its lavish and prestigious vehicles. More so, the company can be credited as to possess the most established and well known brand on a global front, and is the oldest existing automotive manufacturer in the world today (Adler, 2010).

General Motors

General Motors has attempted practice corporate social responsibility by addressing the Eco friendly vehicle issue. The company is deemed the leading user of renewable energy in its operations in the automotive industry (Rudman, 2008). General Motors has done this by publishing its operations regarding environment maintenance through the website to inform the public. In the year 2008, the company committed over half of its engineering plants to operate in a land free manner. In order to achieve this feat, waste from production is either re used or recycled in the manufacturing processes (Pelfrey, 2006). In the same year, operations oversaw the company’s German plant establish a solar power installation, the largest in the world. In 2010, General Motor Company invested eight million dollars on solar panel Sunlogics. This was a means of installing solar panels on facilities in American Plants to implement a renewable and environmentally friendly source of energy.

More so, General Motors Company has for a long time researched on manufacturing vehicles implementing an alternative technology. This eventually led to the company to consider manufacturing ethanol burning vehicles, flexible fuel vehicles, and automobiles capable of running on ethanol or gasoline. The company was the first to implement the use of turbochargers in its vehicles as means of being eco friendly back in 1960 as the company first attempted corporate social responsibility measures. On the fall of May 2004, General Motors Company manufactured the world’s first model of a full sized hybrid pickup as means of showcasing environmentally friendly technology. This hybrid model utilized energy from electricity for propulsion, but was prototype (Pelfrey, 2006). In 2010, the company went further to produce the Chevrolet Volt which also relied on electricity for propulsion but had backup gasoline generators. This model was made available in United States and other European Countries such as Germany late in 2010.

With regard to electric vehicles, General Motor was the first company to produce an automobile dependent on electricity. In 1990, General Motors managed to top the Los Angeles Auto Show in the United States through its “impact” car model (Rudman, 2008). This was the first car in the United States to record zero emissions for three decades. This vehicle model received massive aplomb for the company’s efforts to address corporate social responsibility. The impact model was eventually replaced by the company’s model of the EV1 model in 1996. In this case however, vehicles were rather leased to customers than being sold. However, several controversies led to the company recalling all EV1s and later on destroyed them, while others were donated to museums (Pelfrey, 2006).

In addition, General Motors has endeavored to research on developing automobiles powered by hydrogen. According to the company’s management, this model was to be released in late 2011. These vehicles are intended to be first released in Germany which is a country deemed with good reception with these kinds of vehicles. The economic feasibility lying behind this strategy is low cost of production behind hydrogen fuel, and the eco friendly benefits accompanying it (Rudman, 2008).

Mercedes Benz

As for Mercedes Benz Company in Germany, the corporation has recently engaged in the production of flexible fuel vehicles as a means of adhering to eco friendly vehicle manufacturing. These vehicles can either operate on gasoline or E85 ethanol. Mercedes Benz models with these capabilities were first debuted in Germany and received good reception and encouragement (Hybrid and Eco Friendly Vehicles Conference, 2008). This was later followed by production being directed to the United States to cater for the growing demand. This demand was a result of the company educating its customers through the website concerning benefits of driving Eco friendly vehicle. In addition, the company also endeavors to badge and tag Mercedes Benz models which are eco friendly. This is a means of reminding the public of the capabilities and benefits of E85 models.

In addition, Mercedes Benz has had significant share of Vehicle models with FlexFuel capabilities in the United States Roads. As of 2009, Mercedes Benz had offered twenty FlexFuel ethanol based truck models in the United States and more than one million FlexFuel models. The main goal of the company is to contribute half of their vehicle production capable of exhibiting biodiesel and E85 qualities by the end of the year 2012. In addition, the Mercedes Benz Company has also gone on to be socially responsible by cars with alternative eco friendly propulsion methods. These include fully electric models, hybrid electric as well as fuel cell power trains. At the Frankfurt motor show in 2007, the company introduced seven hybrid vehicles propelled by a hybrid electric drive train (Hybrid and Eco Friendly Vehicles Conference, 2008). This engine is capable of relying on electricity only with zero emission. This has been touted as a positive means of addressing current concerns relating to eco friendly means of industrial operations.

In 2008, the Mercedes Benz Company asserted that front a demonstration with a fleet of electric cars in the near future to raise awareness on environmental friendly vehicles. In addition, the company together with Smart have willingly prepared to uptake electrical vehicle production in Germany followed by widespread distribution in Europe and United States (Hybrid and Eco Friendly Vehicles Conference, 2008). They have already begun the establishment of recharging stations across dealing networks. Currently, twenty recharging stations have already been established in Germany. Further installation has been planned along the United Sates and Europe.

In the United States, the Mercedes Benz Company was behind a record thirty million dollar decision for meeting the economy’s standard on average fuel. More so, the company has introduced newer models of the AMG fitted with engines conscious of poisonous emissions and improved to adhere to new standards set in the German fuel economy. Since 2002, Mercedes Benz Company has been developing vehicle models with F-cell fuel qualities. The current version of this model is only available for lease and mass production has been scheduled in 2013. In 2009, the Mercedes Benz Blue Hybrid was launched. This was the first vehicle in the world to rely on lithium-ion batteries as the company attempted to be adhere to global corporate citizenship ideals.. Mercedes Benz went on to produce 100 of these models in 2010 and had budgeted for a further production of a thousand in 2011.

Conclusion and Recommendation

            In my opinion, I think General Motors Company has undertaken sufficient strategies to address issues on corporate social responsibility and Eco friendly vehicle production. I would therefore grade the company with a B. Reasons are that the company came up with a good idea of electric cars but had not undertaken sufficient research so that project backfired. Judging by the success of its opponent, I would recommend that the management undertake sufficient research concerning electric vehicles and eco friendly production to foster a successful model.

On the other hand, I would grade the Mercedes Benz Company with a B+ for its commendable efforts to become socially responsible. In addition, I also commend the company on its move to scrap vehicles with high CO2 production from its sales and its efforts of educating the public. I would recommend the company to attempt to expand its Eco friendly vehicle models beyond the Germany and the United Sates. This would help achieve brand recognition as well as addressing environmentally friendly social responsibility on a global front.



Adler, D. (2010). Daimler & Benz, the complete history: The birth and evolution of the Mercedes-Benz. New York: Collins.

Hiraoka, L. S. (2001). Global alliances in the motor vehicle industry. Westport, Conn: Quorum Books.

Hybrid and Eco Friendly Vehicles Conference 2008, HEVC 2008. (2008). Hybrid & Eco Friendly Vehicles Conference 2008 (HEVC 2008). Iet Conference Publications.

Pelfrey, W. (2006). Billy, Alfred, and General Motors: The story of two unique men, a legendary company, and a remarkable time in American history. New York: AMACOM.

Rudman, M. (2008). Eco-friendly vehicles. Enterprise Risk, 2, 5, 14-15.

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