In this article the changes in technology and industry structure forced by waste management in the automotive industry are explored. The analysis is based on (1) a characterisation of corporate response to environmental issues, and (2) the management of technology applied to the car manufacturing industry. It is argued that a more elaborate view of company reactions to governmental regulation of environmental issues has developed in recent years. Companies respond with pro‐active strategies. Because of this active attitude environmental concerns influence other aspects of company policy, such as the management of technology. New strategies emerge which are not only a response to environmental problems, but might also influence the industrial structure for the future. The analysis is not only relevant for the automotive industry, but for other manufacturing industries as well. Government action puts waste management issues on the agenda of an increasing number of manufacturing firms that have to develop solutions for these in close cooperation with their suppliers and customers.