Outreach/Philanthropy

Cox Auto honors Motorcars Honda with Leader in Sustainability Award

ATLANTA - 

Cox Automotive presented its third annual Leader in Sustainability Award to Motorcars Honda this past week.

The award, which was given out at the at the 2017 Automotive News Best Dealerships to Work For celebration, honors dealerships that promote green business practices and make a difference through community service.

The dealership will receive $10,000 to fund a sustainability project, as well as an energy audit from the Cox Conserves team.

“At Cox, being good stewards of the environment and inspiring others to protect our national resources is in our DNA,” said Joe George, Manheim senior vice president of vehicle advantage. “Motorcars Honda is a wonderful example of conservation commitment in action, and we’re excited to celebrate their success with the Cox Automotive Leader in Sustainability Award.”

Cox Automotive said it has recognized Motorcars Honda for its conservation efforts surrounding carbon, water and waste.

In addition to implementing a recycling program designed to encourage staff and customers to limit waste, the dealership installed the largest singular solar array of any dealership that generates 50 to 70 percent of the store’s energy needs.

Motorcars Honda is the first carbon-neutral dealership in the world, according to Cox Automotive.

Additionally, the dealership also uses recycled water in their Rainforest Car Wash to conserve water.

“Like our team at Motorcars Honda, Cox Automotive understands that every step we take today toward conservation helps shape a better future for our children and our communities,” said Chuck Gile, owner of Motorcars Honda. “We are honored to be recognized for our efforts to reduce our impact on the environment and inspire change in our employees and neighbors.”

Just last year, the dealership hosted a Solar Car Derby, where participants competed for the chance to win an iPad mini.

During the event, Motorcars Honda donated and distributed over 150 solar panel car kits to local community families. Children built and decorated their own solar panel cars to race, while also learning about sustainability, according to Cox Automotive.


Cox Auto helps in ongoing Puerto Rico hurricane recovery

ATLANTA and SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - 

The Federal Emergency Management Agency said Friday that during the next seven days, 20 million meals and more than 11 million liters of water would be arriving on Puerto Rico.   

After confirming the safety of all 30 employees on the island, Cox Automotive put in motion a variety of initiatives to help the Manheim Caribbean team and their families as well as other citizens impacted by Hurricane Maria.

According to an update shared with AuSM on Friday, Cox Automotive:

— Airlifted in and delivered 10,000 pounds of water and two water filtration systems; generators, batteries, tarps and other emergency supplies along with 480 MREs (Meal Ready-to-Eat rations) which the Manheim Caribbean general manager explained how to use.

— Worked with a local contractor to transfer 820 gallons of diesel fuel to the auction site to power the generators.

— Delivered checks to employees from the Cox Employee Relief Fund, providing humanitarian assistance.

“Because supporting our employees remains one of our most important values,” the company reiterated that Manheim team members can access funds from its in-house charitable organization that helps those impacted by natural disasters, injury or illness, or loss of a family member with:

— Household necessities including furniture, kitchenware and linens

— Clothing and school supplies

— Home insurance deductibles

— Hotel expenses for short-term stays

— Rental cars to get employees to work and children to school

The Cox Automotive efforts are working alongside with what FEMA has been trying to do since the Category 4 hurricane blasted Puerto Rico on Sept. 20.

To date, FEMA, working in coordination with federal partners, has provided more than 8 million meals, and 6 million liters of water to Puerto Rico. At the direction of the government of Puerto Rico, FEMA and its partners deliver commodities to Regional Staging Areas (RSA) across the island, where mayors and local officials from municipalities can pick up food, water and other supplies.

Additionally, FEMA is sending direct shipments of meals and water to municipalities designated by PREMA. These shipments can be delivered by truck, or in cases where roads are inaccessible, by air. 

Officials said this is the longest air support food-drop mission in the history of the agency.

FEMA delivers roughly 200,000 meals a day. This is supplemented by the more than 300,000 additional meals distributed each day by organizations like the Salvation Army, Feeding America, the American Red Cross, World Central Kitchen, Convoy of Hope, World Vision, and Southern Baptist. These groups, along with other voluntary agencies, deliver and distribute across the island, to shelters and to senior centers on a daily basis.

The Departmento de Educacion is providing meals to more than 5,700 occupants in shelters, and distributing food to 224 schools working as community food centers, while also allowing children to do activities on site.

“As more stores open across the island where food, water, and other commodities can be purchased, there will be a lesser need for provided meals and water, allowing FEMA and its partners to continue to focus on the harder to reach communities,” officials said.

Along with supporting relief in Puerto Rico, other segments of the automotive industry are collecting resources to help those individuals impacted by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. Here’s how you can help:

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Spireon donates $100K to NIADA for hurricane relief; IIADA names dealer of the year

CARY, N.C. - 

NIADA announced Tuesday that Spireon will contribute $100,000 to the NIADA Foundation's Disaster Relief Fund to help members of the automotive community recover from hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

The association said Spireon chose to give to the NIADA Foundation Disaster Relief Fund because it was the quickest way to contribute to the customers and the communities the company serves.

 "Our hearts and prayers go out to the folks whose lives have been impacted by hurricanes Harvey and Irma," Spireon chief executive officer Kevin Weiss said in a news release.

"We know the road has not been easy over the past few weeks, and we know the recovery efforts will continue for months to come. We are incredibly thankful for the support our customers have shown us over the years and feel very fortunate to be in a position to give back to these impacted communities," he continued.

Spireon will use its NSpire platform to provide data to customers to help them get their businesses running and assess next steps in wake of the storms, according to Weiss.

"When Spireon heard the NIADA Foundation had created the Emergency Relief Fund, it quickly rallied and offered a major financial commitment to help those affected by the catastrophic storms," said Steve Jordan, NIADA's CEO and president of the NIADA Foundation board of trustees. "We appreciate that Spireon understands recovery doesn't happen overnight, and we are looking forward to working with Kevin Weiss and his entire team to advance our shared goals of helping all members of the independent dealer community get back on their feet again."

 The Disaster Relief fund was established by the NIADA Foundation to enable members and industry partners to help fellow dealers and others in the automotive community in need.

 NIADA said the foundation will continue funding hurricane relief efforts in the coming months.

Fort Wayne store named Quality Dealer of the Year

Meanwhile, in other auto community news, the Indiana Independent Automobile Dealers Association recently announced that Grote Automotive of Fort Wayne, Ind. is its 2017 “Joe Krier” Quality Dealer of the Year.

Owner Fred Grote recently accepted the award at the association’s 30th Anniversary Golf Tournament and Awards Day held at Ironwood Golf Club.

Grote Automotive was started by Grote and his wife Jackie in 2007.

“‘For The People’ is the guiding drive behind the success of the dealership,” the association said in a news release.

“Fred has instilled in the staff that customers are to always feel respected and be given the most enjoyable and fun car buying experience they have ever had.”

In addition to recognizing dealerships and dealers that have a record of being consumer-oriented, award winners must also represent themselves as a civic leader in their community.

The Grote’s have fostered over 30 children and adopted four as their own. Currently, two of their children are involved in the business.

Grote Automotive will represent Indiana at the NIADA Convention in Orlando, Fla. in June. The dealership will compete with Quality Dealers from other states for the National Quality Dealer of the Year title.

Additionally, this year, the dealership was named one of Indiana’s Top 100 Best Places to Work and No. 1 in Fort Wayne.

AutoNation head unveils statue with Fort Lauderdale mayor for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - 

AutoNation announced Monday that chief executive Mike Jackson recently joined Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Mayor John  Seiler to unveil a giant pink ribbon statue on Fort Lauderdale Beach in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The 20-foot tall statue symbolizes the importance of raising awareness and funding for breast cancer.

It will be on display throughout the month of October, according to the company.

AutoNation has raised more than $11 million to fund cancer-related charities via its Drive Pink Initiative.

Jackson and Seiler first came together to paint a road pink for the inaugural launch of the initiative in 2015.

Last year, the company partnered with the Fort Lauderdale Fire Department to provide “Real Heroes Drive Pink’ Shirts” to all first responders.

In addition to mayor Seiler, AutoNation associates, along with personnel representing Fort Lauderdale's police and fire departments joined Jackson for the statue reveal.

According to the company, Forbes Magazine and Just Capital recently named AutoNation one of America’s top 100 Corporate Citizens because of its commitments to community health and fight against cancer.

Manheim prepares to gift 5th car to Calif. auto shop students

ATLANTA - 

Manheim California recently announced that it has planned another trip to Valley High School in Santa Ana, Calif. for the third year of its “Flip this Car” project, which shows auto shop students how to recondition cars and auction them off to expand their understanding of career options in the automotive industry.

The program provides students with both the opportunity to learn real-world skills and raise money to support their auto shop programs.

Manheim California developed the program with High School, Inc., a non-profit organization established to help prepare students for the 21st century workforce.

“When you can connect the best of what your organization has to offer with a need in the community, that’s where magic happens,” Manheim California general manager Tom Wemhoff said in a news release. “We’re thrilled to be continuing our partnership with High School, Inc. and working closely with our dealer partners to continue inspiring the next generation of the automotive workforce.”

Manheim California connects with its dealer partners to secure vehicles for the auto shop students and donates the total sale price back to the school once the vehicle is bought at auction.

All proceeds have gone to support Valley High School’s auto shop program for student’s new tools and resources.

Additionally, students can watch the sale from their classroom via Simulcast.

“From the first time I saw the hopefulness and pride in the students’ faces as their first vehicle crossed the auction block, I knew we had something special,” said Wayne Hefft, Manheim’s client solutions executive who has led the partnership for the last two years. “We’re proud of the success these students have achieved and look forward to continuing this great program.”

Manheim California has completed the "Flip This Car" project with four cars, earning a total of $14,000 in two years.

Hefft is currently working with Valley High School and dealer partners to secure the project’s next vehicle, according to Manheim California.

“Our goal at High School, Inc. is to set students up for success in the workforce by enabling them to build the skills and knowledge they need,” added program Director, Shaylin Johnson. “The unique partnership we have built with the Manheim team is exemplary of how local businesses can get involved and help drive students toward brighter futures.”

2 LHM dealers collect nearly 75K water bottles for the homeless

PHOENIX - 

Larry H. Miller Dealerships recently announced its Dodge Ram Peoria and Chrysler Jeep Avondale stores collected 74,996 bottles of water for the homeless after partnering with four local West Valley fire departments to host a community water drive.

The drive colleled water from June 1 through August 31, tripling the organizer’s initial 25,000 bottles goal, according to LHM.

“I’m blown away by how supportive and generous our employees, customers and the community have been in helping us to triple our initial goal,” Larry H. Miller Chrysler Jeep Avondale general manager Eric Ortega said in a news release. “It is truly rewarding to be able to help the homeless community with something as simple, yet vital, as bottled water during the scorching summer months.”

In addition to radio partners 102.5 KNIX-FM and 104.7 KISS-FM, which hosted remotes at locations throughout West Valley, several local businesses helped the drive surpass its goal by individually donating thousands of bottles of water.

The giving companies include: Firehouse Subs, iHeartMedia, Adesa Auto Auctions, Target, Homeowners Financial Group and Route One.

Additionally, Dodge Ram Peoria, Chrysler Jeep Avondale and 29 fire stations throughout Glendale, Peoria, Avondale and Surprise served as other collection sites for this year’s drive.

“We’re truly amazed and grateful for the amount of support we’ve received during this year’s water drive,” said Glendale Firefighter Charities executive director Cecil Tudor. “This was one of the hottest summers on record. Without the generosity of our neighbors and local businesses, we would not have been able to provide drinking water to as many at-risk individuals.”

Enterprise's 2017 disaster aid reaches $3M after Irma pledge

ST. LOUIS - 

The Enterprise Rent-A-Car Foundation announced Wednesday it has pledged $750,000 to the American Red Cross and $250,000 to Americares to help communities devastated by Hurricane Irma.

The $1 million in donations from the philanthropic arm of the Enterprise Rent-A-Car brand will go towards relief efforts in both the Southeast U.S. and the Caribbean, the company said.

Enterprise's support for disaster relief now totals $3 million this year.

Following its Annual Disaster Giving Program donation of $1 million to the American Red Cross earlier this year, Enterprise gifted another $1 million to support Hurricane Harvey last month.

"We know firsthand how services from the American Red Cross and Americares can be life-changing and make a positive difference for disaster victims," Enterprise Rent-A-Car Foundation senior vice president and executive director Carolyn Kindle Betz said in a news release. "These are the communities where our employees and customers live and work, and we will continue to support the efforts of those organizations to help people in their times of greatest need."

Throughout Florida, Enterprise Holdings, owner of the Enterprise Rent-A-Car, National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car brands, was forced to close more than 100 of its over 500 neighborhood and airport car rental locations due to power outages following the storm.

Currently, only more than half of the initially closed locations have resumed operations.

For Southeast Florida customers who rented vehicles but had to drop them off elsewhere, Enterprise Holdings' said it has waived the company’s one-way rental fees.

In the Caribbean, while the Enterprise location in Turks and Caicos has reopened, in Tortola, St. Maarten and St. Barths where some of the heaviest damage occurred, Enterprise Holdings' franchises still remain closed for inbound reservations.

Enterprise said it has started to work with neighboring partners in the recovery process and local customers in need of vehicle rentals.

Enterprise Holdings' franchise location employees in the Caribbean have continued to follow the ongoing storm activity to determine any potential need for additional closures within the region, according to the company.

LHM dealers raise $23,500 in school supplies for Colorado students

DENVER - 

Larry H. Miller Dealerships announced Wednesday that it collected nearly $23,500 in school supplies during the company’s “Stuff for Students” campaign this summer.

 Throughout August, 11 participating LHM dealerships’ stuffed a vehicle with much-needed school supplies.

In partnership with 9News, Volunteers of America Colorado Branch (VOA) and other business partners, the company collected enough supplies to benefit 60,000 students last month.

“We are fortunate to have a great team of partners like Larry H. Miller Dealerships who come together to support 'Stuff for Students' every year,” Volunteers of America Colorado Branch director of volunteer programs Bradley Gulley said in a news release.

“Thanks to the donations from Larry H. Miller Dealerships, their employees, and their customers, families can focus on school and not the financial burden of the cost of school supplies. These contributions will make a real difference in the communities we serve,” he continued.

Since 2015, LHM has donated an estimated $50,000 in school supplies, according to the group.

The cost of school supplies continues to increase and parents can often spend over $900 on supplies for a high school-aged student, according to VOA.

In the counties served by VOA, approximately 23 percent of the 743,255 students live in poverty, compared to the state average of just 14.7 percent, the organization said. 

The supplies from the “Stuff for Students” campaign go to students within more than 15 school districts who are in low-income households or homeless.

Additionally, just before the school year began for students, LHM also gifted a $5,000 grant to Operation Outreach-USA at Coronado Hills Elementary School to provide 450 books. The program aims to improve reading proficiency among students in kindergarten through fourth grade in low income and poor-performing schools.

10 steps to watch for flood-damaged vehicles

CARY, N.C. - 

With two Category 4 hurricanes striking the United States during the past two weeks, the National Automobile Dealers Association offered 10 inspection tips for prospective buyers to spot flood-damaged vehicles.

As what’s left of Hurricane Irma cut through Georgia and Alabama on Monday, the impact left a day earlier in Florida was significant.

According to updates posted on its website, ADESA did not open its Florida facilities in Tampa, Sarasota, Orlando, Ocala and Jacksonville on Monday. ADESA Atlanta was set to close at 1 p.m. on Monday. ADESA Birmingham opened on Monday, but officials said the Alabama facility was operating with a limited staff.

While ADESA said its Orlando operation still was planning to have its dealer consignment sale on Tuesday, and its regularly scheduled consignment sale in Atlanta on Wednesday was still scheduled, the company emphasized that dealers and consignors should monitor its website for potential changes.

No matter how dealerships might be acquiring inventory in the coming weeks, NADA urged used-car managers and operators to watch for potentially damaged vehicles by taking these :

1. Check a vehicle’s title history using the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s VinCheck, the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System or a commercially available vehicle history report service, such as Experian or Carfax, etc. Reports may state whether a vehicle has been flood damaged.

2. Examine the interior and the engine compartment for evidence of water and grit from suspected submersion.

3. Check for recently shampooed carpeting.

4. Look under the carpeting for water residue or stain marks from evaporated water not related to air-conditioning pan leaks.

5. Inspect for interior rust and under the carpeting, and inspect upholstery and door panels for evidence of fading.

6. Check under the dash for dried mud and residue, and note any mold or a musty odor in the upholstery, carpet or trunk.

7. Check for rust on screws in the console and in other areas water would normally not reach unless the vehicle was submerged.

8. Look for mud or grit in alternator crevices, behind wiring harnesses and around the small recesses of starter motors, power steering pumps and relays.

9. Inspect electrical wiring for rusted components, water residue or suspicious corrosion.

10. Inspect other components for rust or flaking metal not normally found in late-model vehicles.

NAMAD gets involved in hurricane relief

In light of historic hurricane disasters in Texas and Florida, the National Association of Minority Automobile Dealershas spearheaded the NAMAD Disaster Relief Fund to assist employees and families of NAMAD members in these affected areas.

In a member-wide call to action, NAMAD has asked members to contribute $2,000 for each dealership they own to this crucial Fund.

“The response has been amazing,” NAMAD chairman Irving Matthews said in a news release. “We have already collected more than $400,000 towards our goal of raising $1 million.  Even our dealerships in the affected areas have donated, despite the potential for huge financial losses. 

“All of the monies raised will be distributed to NAMAD member dealer employees and their families to help them deal with the loss of income, housing and stability hurricanes Harvey and Irma have created,” Matthews continued. “Like millions of Americans coast to coast, we've made a commitment to help those in need, and help jumpstart the rebuilding process.”

NAMAD acknowledged it will take months for the most severely damaged businesses to rebuild.  This, too, prolongs the crisis for affected families.

“NAMAD calls on the insurance industry to be expedient in processing claims for losses during Hurricanes Harvey and Irma,” NAMAD president Damon Lester said. “We also thank automobile manufacturers for accelerating vehicle removal and staging so damaged inventory can be replaced as quickly as possible.

“Texas and Florida represent two major markets for new vehicle sales in the U.S., and NAMAD and others are doing our part to assist those in need,” Lester said. “If all companies that support the automobile industry react and respond with immediacy and purpose, we can, more quickly, put Hurricanes Harvey and Irma in the history books.”

Storm roundup: Auction arbitration change; NADA reiterates call to help

CARY, N.C. - 

The weather-related developments connected to the used-vehicle industry arise seemingly by the day now that it’s near the height of hurricane season.

While the National Auto Auction Association Standards Committee made an adjustment to the NAAA arbitration policy, Group 1 Automotive described what shape that dealer group finds itself in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

Meanwhile, Texas Automobile Dealers Association president Bill Wolters reiterated the urgent need to help dealerships and their employees impacted by flooding.

And now, Hurricane Irma is churning through the Caribbean as one of the strongest storms ever observed by federal officials with the possibility of it striking Florida and other parts of the Southeast in the coming days.

NAAA on flood damage disclosure

According to a statement sent during Labor Day weekend, NAAA officials explained that currently, a flood damage disclosure (from sellers to buyers) was only required for vehicles selling under the following sale light combinations:

• Green light only

• Green/yellow light

• Yellow light only

For vehicles sold under the red light a disclosure was not required. But effective on Tuesday until further notice, NAAA indicated sellers will now be responsible for any/all flood damage disclosures to buyers when selling regardless of sale light, which includes the red light.

Officials also said the time period for flood damage via auction inspection is now extended from the “B & C” to “30 days from sale date.” They added the time period for flood damage via DMV and/or insurance company records will remain the same at “120 days.”

“The NAAA Standards Committee strongly urges all selling and buying clients to inspect the vehicles prior to the transaction to avoid arbitration issues,” officials said. “See NAAA.com’s reference page for flood damage inspection best practices.”

NADA Foundation still in need

While some dealers might be looking for inventory, of immediate concern in some portions of the Lone Star State centered on what was shared by Wolters, who implored the industry to give to the NADA Foundation’s Emergency Relief Fund.

“NADA created the Emergency Relief Fund to give immediate funds to these employees to help them bridge the gap until they can get their lives back together," said Wolters, who represents 1,300 franchised dealerships in Texas, in a news release. "We need those thousands of dealerships across the country to pull together to help these dealership employees get back on their feet. We really, really need everyone to step up and help us get through this.”

The National Automobile Dealers Association elaborated more about the situation

The NADA Foundation is calling on dealers, dealer association groups and others to its Emergency Relief Fund, which is dedicated exclusively to providing financial assistance to dealership employees.

Dealership employees who sustained personal property damage caused by the hurricane and flooding .

Since 1992, the NADA Foundation’s Emergency Relief Fund has provided more than $6 million to 9,200 dealership employees and their families across the country.

For more information, call (703) 821-7102.

Update from Group 1

Over at Group 1, leadership maintained that the company’s top priority is supporting its nearly 3,000 employees in the greater Houston and Beaumont areas of Texas.

Executives acknowledged that approximately 500 of their associates suffered significant property losses from flooding and storm damage. The company is assisting these employees by providing disaster pay and further financial support from the Group 1 Foundation.

Despite damage to some facilities and inventory due to record-breaking flooding in the region, Group 1 determined that preliminary assessments indicate all facilities are intact and fully operational. Group 1’s Houston stores reopened last Wednesday. The company’s Beaumont stores reopened on Thursday.

The dealer group said total damages associated with the storm are estimated at approximately $15 million. This amount includes insurance deductibles for damaged inventory and facilities, disaster pay for employees, and financial support for team members whose homes flooded.

“Our top priority is supporting our employees in the areas affected by Hurricane Harvey. 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. Our hearts go out to all of those affected by this devastating storm,” Group 1 president and chief executive officer Earl Hesterberg said in a news release.

“Beyond helping our employees, we are also moving quickly to get our stores fully online to support the community’s needs for replacement vehicles,” Hesterberg continued. “Through some extraordinary efforts by our team, we have all of our stores in both Houston and Beaumont open. And while we did sustain some inventory losses, given that we have over 15,000 units in stock in the impacted area, we are proud of the proactive efforts taken by our dealership teams that greatly protected our new and used inventory. Their actions preserved over 98 percent of our available inventory, which allows us to rapidly assist customers in need of replacement vehicles and service.

“The company’s third quarter results will be impacted by both the non-recurring costs highlighted above, as well the impact of the business disruption for an entire week across the Houston region, which represents Group 1’s largest revenue-generating market,” he went on to say.

Roaring Irma

As Texas tries to recover from Harvey, Florida already declared a state of emergency because of Irma, which on Tuesday afternoon was classified as a Category 5 storm with sustained winds of 185mph.

Irma is approaching the strongest storm readings ever recorded by federal officials, which determined Hurricane Allen topped out at 190mph in 1980 as it swept through the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico before colliding with south Texas.

With places like Puerto Rico already squarely in Irma’s path, officials in the Sunshine State mobilized its National Guard as all 7,000 Florida members will be reporting for duty on Friday morning. The state is also leveraging its connection to regional guard resources where another 30,000 troops, 4,000 trucks and 100 helicopters could be made available, if needed, according to a news release issued by the office of Gov. Rick Scott.

“With Hurricane Irma now a Category 5 storm, we must do all we can to prepare our families and communities for any potential impact from this major weather event,” Scott said. “We do not know the exact path of this storm, but weather can change in an instant and while we hope for the best, we must prepare for the worst.”

 

Editor's Note: Video in window above courtesy of NADA. 

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