Automakers ante up in wake of storm

Written by on November 12, 2012 in Perspectives - 22 Comments

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.

22 Comments on "Automakers ante up in wake of storm"

  1. Jon Jefferson November 13, 2012 at 4:39 pm · Reply

    It is great to see these companies helping those battered by the storm.

    • Krystyna Lagowski November 13, 2012 at 6:12 pm · Reply

      Isn’t it though? These guys are so often in the headlines for all the wrong reasons, let’s give them props for flexing their muscle to help people!

  2. Susan Cooper November 13, 2012 at 9:27 pm · Reply


    This is such uplifting news to share. The storms that these people have experienced have left such an impact on the whole nation. It is wonderful to see people helping people. Thank you for the post.


    • Krystyna Lagowski November 13, 2012 at 9:46 pm · Reply

      I so agree with you, Susan! “Uplifting” is the perfect word, and one that most people don’t usually associate with this industry. Happy to see them do good work.

  3. Dan Meyers November 13, 2012 at 11:06 pm · Reply

    Wow, what a great article. It’s obviously in their best interest to help out and gather good press, but some of them have gone way above and beyond. Funny that charity was on both of our minds today!

    • Krystyna Lagowski November 13, 2012 at 11:11 pm · Reply

      Thanks, Dan! I guess there was something in the air – or the blogosphere : )) Anyways, it’s nice that the automakers get recognized for their good deeds. Positive vibes are always welcome.

  4. Susan Oakes November 13, 2012 at 11:14 pm · Reply

    I agree with Susan about it being uplifting. As well it is interesting to see the different ways the auto makers are helping the people affected by the hurricane.

    • Krystyna Lagowski November 14, 2012 at 1:23 am · Reply

      They’ve obviously given some thought as to how people will benefit the most. I like that they’re giving their customers a break on payments – that’s huge.

  5. Jeri November 14, 2012 at 3:37 am · Reply

    What an informative post that gives hope for what business can do in times of great need! An international car show is coming to Charlotte this weekend and I wonder if such support from the auto industry will be apparent at the show. Haven’t decided if I’ll go yet, but I’m sure the show would be interesting.

    • Krystyna Lagowski November 16, 2012 at 9:17 pm · Reply

      Thanks, Jeri. Good to know that when the need arises, the car industry can rise to the challenge. They did well this time around, and generated a lot of goodwill. Have fun at the car show if you go!!

  6. Keyuri Joshi November 14, 2012 at 1:02 pm · Reply

    Walking the walk! It doesn’t get better than that. Tangible examples stay in our memories longer and inspire us to do the same or better when faced with a similar situation at some point in the future.

    • Krystyna Lagowski November 16, 2012 at 9:21 pm · Reply

      Leading by example always wins! I like that a lot of the auto makers matched their employees’ donations – that says a lot. Good deeds generate good karma, as well.

  7. Patrick Huff November 16, 2012 at 3:51 am · Reply

    Now that is what I like to see and yay Delaware.

    • Krystyna Lagowski November 16, 2012 at 9:22 pm · Reply

      Ain’t it the truth? Looks good on Fisker to be so generous, even if it was part of the deal they had with the local hydro utility. I’m sure no one expected them to donate their facility!

  8. Rose M Griffith November 16, 2012 at 11:59 pm · Reply

    Krystyna, thank you for writing about this! It’s great to read about companies that step up and do the right thing at the right time. Gives me hope!

    • Krystyna Lagowski November 17, 2012 at 9:48 pm · Reply

      Hi Rose, thank you for your comments. We should be able to post good news more often – wouldn’t we all be much happier? It’s important to look for the positive, because when you make the effort – guess what – you find it!

  9. Doreen Pendgracs November 17, 2012 at 2:17 pm · Reply

    Very interesting and inspiring news! We don’t hear “good news” stories like this enough. I will share your post, despite the fact that I find the roving “share” button to be a bit of a distraction on the screen.

    • Krystyna Lagowski November 17, 2012 at 3:39 pm · Reply

      Hey Doreen, thanks for the feedback!! These guys are often in the headlines for the wrong reasons, why not give them props when it’s this well-earned? Also appreciate the comment about the sliding share button, may change it up…

  10. Martin Casper November 19, 2012 at 2:11 am · Reply

    That is really neat Krystyna!
    American are at their best when there is a disaster…now this can be good and bad as we should always be ready to step to the same plate. If we as Americans would always take this attitude, there is no one in this world who could best us!

    • Krystyna Lagowski November 19, 2012 at 2:33 am · Reply

      So glad you liked this, Martin! You’re right, it’s all in the attitude – reaching out to help others in a crisis or disaster looks good on everybody. It shows others what you’re really made of …

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    • Krystyna Lagowski December 17, 2012 at 2:26 am · Reply

      Thank you! I hired a wonderful designer to put this blog together and I think that was the key. Perhaps you can check with a professional to see what solutions they can offer you. Good luck!

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