Are you depressed by scenes of storm-ravaged streets, splintered cars and flooded highways? Cheer up! Good news is here, from a sector which itself took a nasty beating from the storm. The auto industry, which lost 17,000 new cars and 200,000 used cars, is rummaging through its pocket to help make a difference for storm victims. And by combining resources, cash and clout, auto makers are doing their share to get people back on their feet.
Leading the pack is auto maker Fisker Automotive, who lost almost $30 million dollars worth of its sexy electric cars to hurricane Sandy.
They’ve volunteered their 3.2 million square foot facility in Wilmington, Delaware as a staging area for rescue crews and power trucks. Its huge parking lot is now home to almost 300 utility and tree trimming trucks from as far away as Florida. It was part of a deal Fisker had with Delmarva Power, the local hydro authority, to be a responsible citizen in the event of disaster, and they’re stepping up to the challenge.
Other auto makers are helping out with cash and resources. GM has pledged cargo vans, 50 Chevy Silverado full-size pickups, crossovers and Tahoe SUVs, to the Red Cross. The GM vehicles will come equipped with 200 OnStar Hands-free calling minutes plus a month of turn-by-turn navigation, to help relief workers get around unfamiliar neighbourhoods. GM has also donated $250,000 to the Red Cross.
To help customers replace their storm-damaged vehicles, Chrysler is offering $500 cash allowance coupons to the purchase or lease of 2012/2013 Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram and Fiat models. Chrysler is also donating $100,000 to the Red Cross through its Ram brand, as well as 20 Ram 15000 Tradesman trucks.
Ford employees have passed the hat to collect $50,000, as part of its long-standing relationship with the Red Cross Disaster Responder Program. Their Ford Credit Disaster Relief Program will allow qualified customers to delay one or two monthly payments.
Other auto makers making adustments to payments by customers in disaster areas include Honda,Toyota, Nissan, and Mazda. Honda is also donating $500,000 to the Red Cross, and will match its employees’ personal contributions dollar for dollar. Toyota is contributing $1 million to the Red Cross, and will also match employee donations.
Nissan is following suit, offering current customers in disaster and emergency areas three payment extensions, while new customers who need to replace vehicles lost to the hurricane can get employee pricing as well as deferred payments by up to three months.
Mazda customers with claims of damage or loss to their vehicle can get $500 towards the purchase of a new Mazda. The carmaker has also made a $100,000 donation to the Red Cross, while its non-profit Mazda Foundation has given $5,000 grants to two food banks.
Volvo is offering customers in affected areas employee pricing on a new vehicle, as well as $1,000 to offset costs. For its customers, Hyundai is reducing the price of a new replacement vehicle by $750, and has made a donation of $500,000 to the Red Cross.
Volkswagen has offered a $500,000 donation to the Red Cross, and Mercedes Benz (U.S. headquarters are in New Jersey) has given $1 million to the Red Cross. BMW, also with U.S. offices in New Jersey, has donated $1 million to the Red Cross.
But probably the most enterprising offer is coming from Ferrari, another auto maker with its U.S. headquarters in New Jersey, who will be auctioning a 2013 Ferrari F12 Berlinetta on November 17, with all proceeds going to the Red Cross. The Berlinetta normally retails for a cool $315,888 – but Ferrari has said they expect the auction to bring in much more than that. They have also created a special contributions page, where well-heeled Ferrari fans can contribute to the Red Cross.
That’s one storm cloud truly lined with silver.