Becoming environmentally friendly has turned from a question of doing the right thing to save the planet to getting environmentally sustainable as a new business development strategy that earns more money for the automakers.
Just a generation ago, the US manufacturers and their global peers started to understand that getting I their products all the safety features that federal regulators wanted had turned from the grueling task of yesterday into the profit generator of tomorrow – in some cases lending them a competitive edge. That’s because safer vehicles were bought by more customers and at higher prices than cars that were not equipped with the features. Now the same strategy is starting to develop in conjunction with the emergence of green automakers. “Sustainability is a long-term concern that creates stakeholder value,” comments David Tulauskas, General Motors’ global sustainability boss. “Not just in the U.S., but globally, customers have become much more focused on the environmental and social impact.”
Consumer expectations have skyrocketed in terms of high vehicle efficiency and reduced environmental impact, with analysts saying the carmakers that don’t make the green switch stand to lose many customers. GM for example earned in 2014 more than one billion by selling waste material across the planet, or it managed to lower its energy bill by $435 million at its US factories. Ford has reduced the impact of switching to aluminum on its best-selling F-150 pickup truck by inventing a new manufacturing process that turned scrap into reusable material it could then sell.