This paper uses systems thinking to analyse environmental decisions and their interactions in the automotive industry. The motivation comes from the findings of an environmental decision making investigation undertaken from 2006 to 2010. Using data from 10 case companies, five principles of systems thinking theory were identified in a visual pattern analysis to undertake the assessment by considering the soft systems around the automotive industry and some other manufacturing companies (e.g. roots definition, interdependence, feedback loops, hierarchy, etc). The results show the implications of environmental policies and decisions relating to production processes and automobile design. For example, incremental choices for better fuel economy can lead to more intensive use of cars resulting in very little overall pollution reduction. Likewise, the introduction of disruptive technologies for zero emissions vehicles (e.g. electric cars and fuel cell initiatives) require wider systems adjustment in order to accept the radical innovations involved, which comprises a feedback loop of ";no infrastructure, no zero-emissions cars, no infrastructure";. Finally, the analysis of systems also suggests that within the automotive industry the wider environment will ultimately have a significant impact on the drivers, the selection of options, and even the performance of environmental decisions.