Diversity, equality and inclusion is good for car business

It has been 14 months since we at Automotive News launched our first monthly report dedicated to diversity, equity and inclusion within the industry, DE&I at Work. And in today’s issue, we are honoring 18 difference makers with our second annual Notable Champions of Diversity.

While all corners of the automotive industry, including corporate offices, factories, showrooms, service and repair shops, and financial institutions that underwrite car purchases understand why creating a diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace environment benefits the bottom line, such efforts are still sometimes met with resistance.

We hear arguments suggesting that DE&I policies are a form of reverse discrimination that might violate the rights of other people. I’m no legal expert, but I’m sure the multibillion-dollar corporations that each have an army of capable attorneys would swiftly refute the supposed illegalities of DE&I.

Most companies that are serious about DE&I — General Motors, Honda Motor Co. and Mercedes-Benz, just to name a few — have issued publicly available reports detailing the demographic makeups of their work forces and executive ranks, and have set goals to do business with vendors owned by minorities and women.

Let’s make one thing abundantly clear: Discriminatory and exclusionary treatment is not the point of DE&I. The point is to open the door to capable people of different races, genders, religions, sexualities, geographic regions and professional backgrounds who otherwise would not even get a foot in because of decision makers’ implicit biases. Why is having a diverse group of workers so darned important? Because customers and business allies and rivals also come from a broad variety of backgrounds, and understanding them is good business.

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