The Auto Industry's Response To Hurricane Sandy

November 6, 2012

One week ago, after Hurricane Sandy's violent landfall, residents along America's eastern seaboard awoke to starkly different landscapes than they ones they'd known a few hours earlier. Homes and offices had been destroyed, mementos and landmarks ruined, lives changed, taken, forever altered.

But even as Sandy continued to wreak havoc across parts of the country, relief efforts were gearing up. As we saw in the wake of 2010's devastating earthquake in Haiti, donations began pouring in from individuals, foundations, and major corporations, including the auto industry. Here's a rundown of the support that car companies have given to date -- though keep in mind that this doesn't include the many, many volunteer hours that individual employees have contributed in their communities.

BMW of North America is based in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey, which was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy. The company has given $1 million to the American Red Cross for relief and recovery efforts.

Chrysler has contributed $100,000 to the American Red Cross through its Ram truck brand, as well as 20 Ram 1500 Tradesman trucks. 

Ferrari, which bases its North American operations in Englewood Cliffs, N.J., appealed to dealers and fans across the country, raising "$345,000 in in-kind donations for The American Red Cross in just two weeks." On November 18, the company auctioned off the first F12 Berlinetta in the U.S., raising an additional $1,125,000. Combined with the in-kind gifts and another $50,000 received in charitable donations at the auction, Ferrari's total donation to the American Red Cross has reached $1.5 million.

Fisker has been the subject of much discussion the past few days, since 16 of its extended-range electric cars caught fire after being submerged in Hurricane Sandy's floodwaters. (The company has now issued a statement about the incident.) Although the start-up wasn't able to match the monetary donations given by established automakers, it did open up its factory in Wilmington, Delaware, to house utility trucks and repair crews.

Ford has contributed $50,000 to the American Red Cross -- just the latest gift in the company's longstanding relationship with the Red Cross Disaster Responder Program. On November 15, the Ford Motor Company Fund (the automaker's nonprofit foundation) announced a  "$1 million pledge over two years to American Red Cross for disaster relief and career training for veterans and family members.... Through this grant, 200 veterans, those soon to leave military service, or their family members will receive scholarships for free training for a career in health care."

General Motors has given 50 Chevrolet trucks and vans to support relief efforts, and each of those vehicles has been equipped with OnStar, to help workers find their way around unfamiliar towns and neighborhoods. The company's GM Foundation has also contributed $250,000 to the Red Cross Disaster Responder Program.

Hyundai has contributed $500,000 to the American Red Cross.

Mazda has made a $100,000 contribution to the American Red Cross, and its nonprofit Mazda Foundation has awarded $5,000 grants to both the Flemington Area Food Pantry and The Food Bank Network of Somerset County. 

Mercedes-Benz, which is headquartered in New Jersey, has given $1 million to the American Red Cross.

Nissan hasn't yet announced a cash gift. However, it did send out a press release offering "employee pricing and discounted financing on Nissan and Infiniti vehicles to eligible individuals in FEMA-designated disaster and emergency areas who need to replace vehicles lost to Hurricane Sandy".

Toyota is giving $1 million to the American Red Cross, and like most of the other automakers on this list, it will match charitable donations made by its employees. The company's financing arm is contacting lease and retail customers in the affected area, offering "extensions and lease deferred payments; redirecting billing statements; and arranging phone or on-line payments".

Volkswagen has made a $500,000 donation to the American Red Cross through its nonprofit Volkswagen of American Foundation.

We'll try to update this list as word of other support comes in. We now return you to your regularly scheduled election day shenanigans.

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