BATON ROUGE, La. -
As CDK Global announced a $10,000 donation to the National Automobile Dealers Charitable Foundation’s Emergency Relief Fund, NADA continued to chronicle how dealership families have been displaced by the recent flooding in Baton Rouge, La., and surrounding communities.
Preston Petersen, dealer partner and general manager of Team Automotive Group in Louisiana’s state capital, said 70 out of his 360 dealership employees lost their homes and vehicles.
“While every employee has been negatively impacted by the flooding, about 70 are dealing with catastrophic losses,” Petersen said according to an interview with NADA. “Water in excess of four feet in their homes, total home losses with no flood insurance, some with no place to live and no car to drive. The stories of loss are simply overwhelming and they go on and on.”
He added that damage to his Toyota dealership has yet to be fully determined, but estimates repairs will cost several millions. The dealership, which completed Toyota’s Image II upgrade last fall, was completely gutted.
“On a brighter note, our employees have rallied beyond belief to help get the dealership cleaned up in less than a week,” Petersen said. “We are currently operating out of our used car building that took less of a hit and have our express shop and service and parts departments fully functioning at this point.”
On Monday, Gov. John Bel Edwards met with members of the Louisiana congressional delegation regarding flood recovery efforts.
“On the 11th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, we are again reminded of how important it is that we come together as Louisianans first and fight for every available resource needed for a full recovery from this disaster. In that same spirit, today I met with the Louisiana congressional delegation to discuss ways that the state and the delegation can work together to maximize all available resources to aid in our recovery efforts,” Edwards said.
“The meeting was very productive, and as we continue to get a clearer picture of the damage sustained in this historic flood, we will continue to fight together for a stronger Louisiana,” he added.
Nonetheless, Petersen stressed that the flooding disaster has presented “overwhelming” challenges every minute of the hour.
“All we can do is put one foot in front of the other and move forward every day,” Petersen said. “We appreciate all the support being offered. You never know when it could happen to you.”
In an NADA video released last week and mentioned in this Auto Remarketing report, NADA president Peter Welch walked through other flood-ravaged areas of Baton Rouge, describing the damage to homes.
“The devastation I saw was beyond belief,” Welch said. “We drove down through some subdivisions, and the lawns were not big enough to contain all the belongings ripped out of the house. And it was just house after house after house, just as far as the eye could see.”
NADA is urging the entire auto industry to support the flood victims.
“We commend CDK Global for this generous donation, and encourage other allied companies to do the same by making a donation today to the NADA Foundation's Emergency Relief Fund,” Welch said. “Now that the flood waters have receded and the damage has been assessed, the requests for financial assistance are growing each day.”
To donate to the NADA Foundation fund, visit www.nada.org/emergencyrelief or call (703) 821-7233. Checks can be made payable to:
NADCF Emergency Fund
8400 Westpark Drive
Tysons, VA 22102.
According to the American Red Cross, the response effort will cost at least $30 million and may grow as the recovery begins in the region. CDK will also institute an employee match to the American Red Cross as a part of their employee giving program.
“Our hearts go out to the families affected by this tragedy," said Yvonne Surowiec, chief people officer at CDK Global. “Supporting communities during times of crisis is a part of our core values. It's our sincere hope that these funds help the community and people affected recover and rebuild.”