From automakers to state dealer associations to finance companies, the automotive industry is answering the urgent call for resources to help victims caught in the path of Hurricane Harvey.
One of the largest single commitments came from the collaboration of Toyota Motor North America (TMNA), Toyota Financial Services (TFS), The Friedkin Group, Gulf States Toyota (GST) and Toyota and Lexus dealers nationwide. Those entities are set to provide a combined relief effort of more than $3 million to serve the people impacted by Harvey.
The group’s relief endeavors include funds to organizations such as the St. Bernard Project and American Red Cross, matching contributions, in-kind donations, volunteerism and the donation of pre-owned vehicles.
“As fellow Texans, our hearts go out to those who have lost so much, and we would like to extend a helping hand to help with the recovery,” Jim Lentz, chief executive officer of Toyota Motor North America said. “At Toyota, we have a comprehensive approach to disaster relief, working with numerous organizations to provide help where it’s needed.”
Toyota Financial Services president and CEO Mike Groff added, “Access to reliable means of transportation is a critical element to any disaster relief and recovery effort. We hope that our donated vehicles will help meet the needs of those affected by Hurricane Harvey.”
The Ford Motor Company Fund is contributing $100,000 to disaster relief efforts in Texas. In addition, Ford Fund is matching up to $50,000 in contributions to the American Red Cross, raising potential assistance from Ford to $200,000.
“On behalf of Ford Motor Company, our thoughts and prayers go out to all of those impacted by this devastating storm,” company officials said. “We know for certain that many dealers in the area have sustained significant damage. We are gathering information from local authorities and dealers so we can offer our assistance in the most effective way possible.”
The Volkswagen Group of America Foundation announced that it has donated $150,000 to the American Red Cross.
"With this donation, VWGoA is helping the American Red Cross provide some relief to those who have been affected by this devastating storm,” said David Geanacopoulos, senior executive vice president for public affairs and public policy at Volkswagen Group of America.
“We extend our thoughts and concern to all of those affected, including our employees, dealers and their families living and working in the impacted areas. We remain in constant contact with our teams in the area and will continue to support them as they work to rebuild their communities,” Geanacopoulos continued.
Video from NADA
The National Automobile Dealers Association launched a video highlighting the need for local dealers across the country to contribute the NADA Foundation's Emergency Relief Fund to support dealership families impacted by the destructive hurricane and flooding in southeastern Texas.
“Donating to the NADA Foundation’s Emergency Relief Fund is an effective way to provide financial assistance quickly to dealership families affected by Hurricane Harvey,” said Annette Sykora, chairman of the NADA Foundation. “Local dealerships nationwide are like a big extended family. When one of us hurts, we always come together to help.”
Dealership employees affected by the flooding can apply for financial assistance. (Lost wages or commissions are not eligible for reimbursement from the fund.)
The NADA Foundation is also calling on dealers, dealer association groups and others to donate online to its Emergency Relief Fund, which is dedicated exclusively to providing financial assistance to dealership employees.
Independent dealer efforts
Continuing an effort started by the National Independent Automobile Dealers Association, Georgia Independent Automobile Dealers Association CEO Paul John has called on all state associations to step up and support the independent dealers affected by Harvey.
The challenge comes after the GIADA pledged $5000 to the NIADA Foundation's Hurricane Harvey relief effort where 100 percent of all contributions will be given to those needing relief.
“Georgia is committed to helping our fellow independent car dealers in south Texas recover from this unfortunate, serious event,” John said.
“GIADA encourages and challenges all state independent dealer associations to donate whatever they can afford to give,” he continued. “And more importantly, they can help by reaching out to their state auto dealers and members for their immediate assistance. Timing is key, and they need our help.”
Veros Credit assistance & fundraising plans
Subprime auto finance company Veros Credit announced immediate plans to provide payment assistance to its customers who have been impacted by Harvey.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with those who have been affected by this catastrophic event. Their safety and wellbeing is our immediate concern,” Veros Credit CEO Cyrus Bozorgi said. “We are committed to working with our customers whose lives have been disrupted by Hurricane Harvey to provide payment assistance and relief options.”
Customers who would like to discuss the options available to them should contact Veros Credit online or call customer service at (888) 891-8807.
Veros Credit also announced a Workplace Giving Campaign in partnership with the American Red Cross.
“This is the time for people to come together to support one another. The American Red Cross is one of the largest and most reputable nonprofit organizations and it made perfect sense for Veros Credit to partner with them for our Workplace Giving Campaign which will help with immediate needs like food and shelter as well as put people on the road to reclaiming their lives,” Bozorgi said.