Dealer groups and OEMs rally for Harvey support

The devastating hurricane that hit the U.S. in August has caused countless dealerships to shut down and has left employees dealing with personal issues like property damage and flooding.

International automotive retailer Group 1 has reviewed the damage of its Texas dealerships in wake of the storm and estimates the cost to be around $15 million, the company said in a press release.

The cost includes things like insurance deductibles for inventory and facilities that have been damaged by the hurricane, disaster pay for employees, and financial support for team members dealing with home flooding.

Of the company’s nearly 3,000 employees located in the greater Houston and Beaumont areas, 500 suffered significant property losses due to storm damage and flooding.

“Our top priority is supporting our employees in the areas affected by Hurricane Harvey,” said Earl J. Hesterberg, Group 1’s president and chief executive officer. “The size and scope of this disaster is almost beyond comprehension and the losses many of our employees and their family members have suffered is staggering.”

Group 1’s facilities and inventory also took a hit but the retailer’s preliminary assessments indicate that everything remains intact and fully operational. Its Houston stores opened Wednesday and the Beaumont stores on Thursday.

Automotive manufacturers have branched out beyond their dealerships and employees to help others in need.

Toyota provided $3 million to various organizations like the St. Bernard Project and American Red Cross, as well as to support Toyota and Lexus dealers and associates affected by the storm.

Hyundai announced Friday that it will donate $200,000 to five Texas-based children’s hospitals via Hyundai Motor America and its Hope On Wheels charity that helps kids fight cancer.

“There is added pressure on hospital resources and patient needs, due to the unprecedented storm,” said Jerry Flannery, President and CEO, Hyundai Motor America. “We want the community to know that Hyundai will stand by their side during this recovery.”

Other carmakers like Subaru donated $100,000 to the American Red Cross to help support those affected by Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Louisiana.

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