NS Releases Results of Automotive Buyer Benchmark Survey

Written by Carolina Worrell, Senior Editor
According to the survey, 88% of respondents research a manufacturer’s sustainability initiatives before purchasing a vehicle.

According to the survey, 88% of respondents research a manufacturer’s sustainability initiatives before purchasing a vehicle.

Norfolk Southern (NS) on Dec. 20 unveiled the results of its first-ever Automotive Buyer Benchmark, underscoring the “importance car buyers place on automotive supply chain sustainability.”

According to the survey, which provides a “look into the decision-making processes of consumers who are, or will be soon, searching for a new vehicle,” 88% of respondents research a manufacturer’s sustainability initiatives, such as how they minimize waste and environmental impact, before purchasing a vehicle. Additionally, 69%, or about two-thirds, said they would choose one car brand over another if it had obtained a sustainability certification for its manufacturing and transportation processes.

“The race to perfect sustainable auto manufacturing and transportation is on–and the Automotive Buyer Benchmark makes it clear that consumers are watching how car brands approach these processes intently,” said NS Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Ed Elkins. “Consumers are motivated and demonstrating highly-intensive research habits, working to understand the way auto parts and finished vehicles are transported from the factory to the dealership.”

When asked specifically about the transportation process, 68% said it is important that automotive manufacturers use the most sustainable methods possible when delivering finished vehicles, according to the blind survey of 1,027 American consumers. Rail was respondents’ preferred option, with 69% saying they believe trains are the most sustainable method for transporting a vehicle from the manufacturer to the dealership.

“Our survey further underscores consumers are expecting brands to focus on sustainable manufacturing processes while also taking steps to decarbonize their supply chains,” said NS Vice President Intermodal and Automotive Shawn Tureman. “Norfolk Southern is ready to help our customers meet this moment by offering them the ability to tap into the most sustainable way to move freight over land – rail.”

“We will continue working to [help] serve our customers by offering them a supply chain option that drives their business and their sustainability goals forward,” added NS Group Vice President Automotive Marketing and Sales D’Andrae Larry.

According to the railroad, NS “originates more automotive traffic than any other Class I,” serving 26 auto assembly plants, 35 auto distribution facilities, three Just-In-Time rail centers, and four service hubs “strategically positioned throughout the network.”


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