Wednesday, December 8th, 2021

How automakers improved their diversity scorecards


DETROIT — General Motors, Toyota, Ford, Stellantis and Honda received the highest marks in the Rainbow PUSH Coalition’s 2020 Automotive Diversity Scorecard.

The organization, founded by civil rights activist Jesse Jackson, lauded automakers for hiring African American ad agencies, appointing more chief diversity officers and reevaluating where they stood on diversity and inclusion after the 2020 death of George Floyd sparked a social justice movement.

The scorecard is being released Wednesday during the 22nd Rainbow PUSH Coalition Global Automotive Summit. This summit’s theme is “Expanding Minority Opportunities During Global Electrification.”

GM, for example, created an inclusion advisory board in June 2020 and appointed Telva McGruder as its first chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer. Hyundai, on the other hand, brought on Culture Brands, an African American-owned marketing agency — marking the first time Hyundai has partnered with an agency dedicated to reaching Black buyers.

John Graves, chairman of the Rainbow PUSH Automotive Project, said the chief diversity officer position has seen a rebirth recently.

“When the chief diversity officer position emerged some years ago, it was a position where [they] answered directly to the president or someone of senior management,” Graves told Automotive News. “Over the years that was watered down. We would have some companies that didn’t even have that position. But I think that’s been one of the positions that we’re seeing reemerge with authority with a direct line to the president or to the chairman of the company.

“I think that’s a direct result of George Floyd and, quite frankly, some of our advocacy.”

The scorecard judges automakers on their commitment to improving diversity in employment, advertising, marketing, procurement, dealers and philanthropy.

Companies are scored as green, yellow or red. Green signals that a company is using best practices to build ethnic diversity and has shared its goals, initiatives and investments in this area. Yellow indicates diversity is evident, but not all dollar investments, key figures and other factors were disclosed.

Red means diversity initiatives were nonexistent or undisclosed or that there was not relevant information provided for scoring.

Automakers can also get red scores for failing to complete the survey, which happened in 2017 with BMW and resulted in Jackson calling for a boycott of the company. The coalition and BMW later met and discussed the company’s minority dealer network and other diversification efforts.

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