As torrential rain from Hurricane Harvey keeps falling, the National Automobile Dealers Association and Cox Automotive are taking actions in an effort to support member dealerships as well as Manheim facilities and personnel in the region.
While dealers like Wyatt Wainwright had to flee rising waters, officials from Manheim are modifying activities near Houston, emphasizing that safety of employees is paramount.
“In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, the entire Manheim Texas team is focused on ensuring the safety and well-being of our team members,” said Nick Boris, regional vice president for Manheim Central, in details obtained by AuSM on Monday afternoon.
“We have thankfully confirmed that the more than half of our Texas employees are accounted for, and we are continuing to diligently reach out to additional staff,” Boris continued. “Manheim’s corporate human resources team based in Atlanta is leading the effort to share relief resources and information with those affected by the storm, record-breaking flooding and loss of utilities.
“In addition, they are coordinating access for Manheim team members to the Cox Employee Relief Fund (available through Manheim’s parent company Cox Enterprises) which provides immediate financial assistance for unexpected needs resulting from a disaster,” Boris went on to say.
Below is an update from Manheim’s business operations at some of its sites in Texas:
• Converted Tuesday morning physical sale at Manheim Houston to a digital sale
• Converted Thursday physical sale at Manheim Texas Hobby to a digital sale
• Proceeding with Wednesday sale at Manheim San Antonio
• Still assessing operations at Manheim South Houston
• Manheim Dallas, Manheim Dallas-Fort Worth, Manheim El Paso and Manheim West Texas are not impacted at this time.
“We are proactively communicating with clients about the status of our operations and inventory, as well as their assets,” Boris said. “Currently, affected sites are offering digital sales to support our clients’ used-vehicle buying and selling needs, and we will keep them informed about future in-lane sales.”
Undoubtedly dealers like Wainwright would like to get back to inventory acquisition. He is experiencing just how devastating the impacts this hurricane is leaving.
Wainwright is a resident of Sugar Land, Texas, about 20 miles southwest of Houston, as well as president of the Houston Automobile Dealers Association, which represents 175 dealerships. He learned in the middle of the night about orders to evacuate his home.
“We are struggling with the evacuation right now,” Wainwright said in a press release shared by NADA on Monday.
“There are large scale mandatory and voluntary evacuations going on right now. We don’t know where we can go to escape. I don’t know how I could drive three miles right now without getting blocked,” he added.
The NADA Foundation has mobilized its Emergency Relief Fund to assist dealership employees who have been impacted by personal property damage caused by the hurricane and flooding.
“There’s still 20 to 30 inches of rain that still has to pass through. We are not even near to the peak flooding yet,” Wainwright added. “A big issue we haven’t faced yet are rivers and streams that have yet to overflow. There is so much more of this to go which is the problem.”
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 and dealer association groups to donate online to its Emergency Relief Fund. Checks can be made payable to Emergency Relief Fund and sent to:
8400 Westpark Drive
Tysons, Va. 22102.
For more information, call (703) 821-7102.
Cox Automotive is also committed to helping the American Red Cross with disaster relief efforts.
In addition to the company’s corporate partnership, charitable banner ad campaigns are running on Autotrader, Kelley Blue Book and Manheim.com. Red Cross ads click directly to the Cox Automotive partnership donation site at https://www.redcross.org/coxauto-emp.
State and federal officials continue to deploy all resources available to help Texas residents impacted by this storm.
On Monday, Gov. Greg Abbott announced he has activated the entire Texas National Guard in response to Hurricane Harvey, bringing the total number of deployed guardsman to roughly 12,000. These National Guardsman will assist in the ongoing search and rescue effort for any Texans in immediate danger, and will be heavily involved in the extensive recovery effort in the aftermath of the storm.
“It is imperative that we do everything possible to protect the lives and safety of people across the state of Texas as we continue to face the aftermath of this storm,” Abbott said. “The Texas National Guard is working closely with FEMA and federal troops to respond urgently to the growing needs of Texans who have fallen victim to Hurricane Harvey, and the activation of the entire guard will assist in the efforts already underway. I would like to thank FEMA Administrator Brock Long, as well as all our brave first responders for their hard work in helping those impacted by this terrible storm.”
FEMA Administrator Brock Long added, “While this is still a dangerous situation with a long response effort ahead, the state and people of Texas are resilient. FEMA was here before the storm hit, and we will be here as long as needed, actively coordinating the full resources of the federal government, to support Gov. Abbott and the state.”