Though the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is vastly discussed in management literature little is known about its relation with community development at the local level. This paper makes an attempt to shed light on the current landscape of CSR activities within the automotive industry in India. Based on a multiple case study analysis comprising three foreign and two Indian MNCs a matrix of distinct CSR dimensions has been developed to detect high impact activities for improving living conditions of the local people. Findings suggest that health and education are preferred CSR areas and that large-scale projects are mainly conjoint programmes of MNC and NGO. While education and vocational training are the two areas with the most promising impact there is still a strong need to implement a strategic impact measurement of CSR engagement on the part of MNCs. The study concludes with five propositions which should lay the foundation for a future empirical research project including further types of industries.