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