Which automakers do US drivers consider leaders in sustainability?

Christien PhebyContent Manager
April 29, 2021, 11:27 AM UTC

The Biden administration recently announced that it would be spending $174bn to encourage American drivers to switch to electric vehicles – a package that included tax credits, rebates, and the rollout of half a million charging points. It’s an attempt to tackle climate change, but it also reflects the global automotive industry’s move towards an increasingly electric future.   

But which brands do American drivers think are leading the way when it comes to carbon?  

YouGov Profiles data indicates that Tesla are the brand that US drivers are most likely to describe as “environmentally friendly” and a “leader in sustainability”. While Tesla was cited by 23% of Americans with a driving license, it is perhaps somewhat of a surprise to see that more consumers don’t recognize a brand that only makes electric cars as a leader in the field. While the brand’s awareness isn’t as high as some of its US-based competitors, at around the 80% level, it’s still pretty close to them.  

Nevertheless, Tesla rank comfortably ahead of second-placed Toyota (17%) – a brand that may be benefiting from the continuing, long-gestating success of its hybrid Prius model, as well as its more recent attempts to innovate in the space (such as its recently-announced all-electric SUV).  

 

Honda – which recently promised that it would exclusively sell battery-electric vehicles by 2040 – finished third, with 11% of American drivers describing it as a leader in sustainability. It shares a space with Chevrolet (11%), whose parent company General Motors also recently announced plans to become carbon-neutral by 2040.  In fourth place, nearly one in ten consumers cited Ford (9%) as a leader in the space, with BMW close behind in fifth (8%). Nissan, whose Leaf model is among the top-selling electric cars of all time, placed joint-sixth with Hyundai (7%), with Audi hot on its heels (6%). Four brands – Chrysler, Kia, Subaru, and Volkswagen – tied for seventh, with 5% of American drivers referring to each brand as environmentally friendly and sustainable.  

Outside the top two, there’s only six percent between the field, meaning that this is a tight field. But another takeaway is that, aside from Tesla, car brands still have a long way to go to shed their polluting image among American drivers.  

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