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Automaker 9/11 Contributions

Claim:   Article examines various automobile manufacturers' contributions to September 11-related relief efforts.

MIXTURE OF TRUTH, FALSITY, AND OUTDATED INFORMATION

Example:   [Collected via e-mail, October 2001]

Please think about this when you buy your next car!

After seeing a short news listing on "CNN Headline News" regarding Ford and GM's contributions to the relief and recovery efforts in New York City and Washington D.C., I was prompted to see what the other automotive companies were contributing. I have never worked for an automotive company — nor has anyone in my family. It is, however, the prominent industry here in Michigan. I also feel it is important to know which companies are there for us in a crisis.

I went to (the news, press release and philanthropic areas of) each of the companies web sites. If the company had several sites, I tried to visit them all. Additionally, I visited the leading news and automotive sites. As of today, one week since the attacks, this is what I have found:

Aston Martin - Nothing.

Audi - Nothing. Audi's web site states "Audi News: Always up to the minute."

BMW - Nothing despite other press releases/postings since 09/11/01. BMW's web site states "The news service from the BMW Group: fast, informative and comprehensive."

Daewoo International - Nothing.

Daimler Chrysler (includes Dodge, Jeep, Mercedes-Benz and Plymouth) - $10 million to support the children and victims in addition to other donations from their employees, dealers and suppliers.

Fiat - Nothing.



Ford Motor Company (includes Jaguar, Lincoln, Mazda, Mercury and Volvo) - $1 million to the American Red Cross, matching employee contributions to the American Red Cross and 10 Excursions to the New York Fire Department. The company has also offered emergency response team services and office space to displaced government employees.

General Motors (includes Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Saab and Saturn) - $1 million to the American Red Cross, matching employee contributions and a fleet of vans, trucks and SUVs.

Honda (includes Acura) - Nothing. Honda's site states "If you're looking for the latest developments taking place at Honda, you've come to the right place" and "Informative. Timely. Credible. The latest news on Honda can always be found right here?" No press releases/postings since 09/04/01 when the release boasted "American Honda Motor Co., Inc. recorded its second best sales month ever in August ?" My search included: hondamotorcycle.com (other press releases posted on this site since 09/11/01), honda.com, honda2001.com, world.honda.com, acura.com and honda.co.jp.

Hyundai Motors Group (includes Kia) - $300,000 to the American Red Cross.

Isuzu - Nothing.

Mitsubishi Motors - Nothing. Mitsubishi-motors.co.jp site states "The latest news about Mitsubishi Motors." I also searched mitsubishimotors.com.

Nissan - Nothing despite other press releases/postings since 09/11/01.

Porsche - Press release with condolences posted on the Porsche web site on 09/12/01, but no contribution.

Subaru - Nothing despite other press releases/postings since 09/11/01.

Suzuki - Nothing.

Toyota (includes Lexus) - Press release with condolences posted on the Toyota web site on 09/14/01, but no contribution despite earlier press releases boasting that Toyota had high sales in July and August.

Volkswagen - The employees and management created a Foundation, funded initially with $2 million, to assist the children and victims with humanitarian help including medical and psychological assistance, rehabilitation and scholarships.

I can only hope that it is an oversight by the companies that have not made a contribution and that they will join the relief efforts. We have the freedom to choose which companies we make purchases from and I, for one, will make my purchases from and give my money the companies that are giving their money to America at this time of need. I hope that you will, too.

Please forward this e-mail — especially to anyone you know who is thinking of purchasing a vehicle.
 

Origins:   The item quoted above detailing automobile companies' contributions to relief efforts following the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the U.S. originally began circulating on the Internet in October 2001 and gained renewed currency in November 2008 (as Congress was debating a $25 billion bailout plan for the Big Three U.S. automakers). At the time, we took on the information-gathering task of visiting the web sites of all the automobile manufacturers listed above (plus a few not on the list), looking for information about September 11-related relief efforts and reported our findings below.

Important points to keep in mind are:
  • Our inability to locate information about charitable contributions on any particular manufacturer's web site did not necessarily mean that information did not exist on the web site.
  • The lack of information about charitable contributions on any particular manufacturer's web site did not necessarily mean that the manufacturer made no such contributions.
  • Manufacturers may also have made contributions above and beyond those listed on their web sites.
  • We did not independently verify that the businesses listed herein actually made the stated contributions; we merely provided links to statements in which they reported that they had (or would be doing so).
  • In every case where we were unable to find relevant information on a manufacturer's web site, we contacted the company through their web site and invited them to respond to this message.


  • Aston Martin: No information found on web site. (In 2001 Aston Martin was owned by Ford; Ford sold its stake in the company in 2007.)
  • Audi: Made a contribution of $100,000 to the New York Fire Fighters 9-11 Disaster Relief Fund and other fundraising efforts.
  • (Also see the entry for Volkswagen, as the Volkswagen Group includes Audi and Volkswagen in the United States.)

  • BMW: Included a press release about BMW Group's donations of $1 million in cash and ten new BMW X5 Sports Activity Vehicles to the Red Cross for national relief efforts and 100 motorcycles to the New York Police Department.
  • Daewoo: No information found on web site.
  • DaimlerChrysler: Web site said they were committng $10 million to help children who have lost parents in terrorist attacks
  • Fiat: No information found on web site.
  • Ford: Included a detailed page about Ford's participation in the National Tragedy Relief Effort, including donations of $1 million each to the Red Cross and the Salvation Army and a program for matching all individual employee contributions.
  • General Motors: Included GM Response to National Tragedy detailing General Motors' many contributions to organizations assisting September 11 victims, including donations of $1 million to the American Red Cross and 50 automobiles to the New York City Fire Department.
  • Honda: A Honda Responds page listed contributions of $1.5 million to the United Way of New York's "September 11 Fund" and the American Red Cross.
  • Hyundai/Kia: The Hyundai Cares page promised a $300,000 donation to the American Red Cross.
  • Isuzu: No information found in Isuzu News section of web site. (A February 2002 press release stated that "Isuzu Motors America has donated $16,800 in corporate and employee contributions and is conducting further fund-raising efforts at its American Isuzu sales unit and at parent Isuzu Motors Ltd. in Japan.")
  • Mitsubishi: A page entitled Contributions to Relief Efforts detailed Mitsubishi's contributions to September 11 programs, including $200,000 raised for the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.
  • Nissan: A "Nissan Responds to Nation's Tragedy" page on Nissan's web site announced their $1 million donation to the American Red Cross and the Twin Towers Fund and other forms of support the company and its employees had put forward.
  • Porsche: Porsche has announced it would be donating 20% of the proceeds from its Drive for Hope Cross-Country Trek to the New York Firefighters 9-11 Disaster Relief Fund.
  • Subaru: A Subaru in the Community page mentioned that Subaru and its parent company, Fuji Heavy Industries, Ltd. in Japan, had made combined contributions of cash and equipment totalling approximately $1 million through the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, and other relief organizations.
  • Suzuki: Opening page included a link to a page detailing their 9/11-related contributions, which included matching employees' contribution of $31,000 with $31,000 of their own and donating SUVs and ATVs at Ground Zero to aid rescue workers.
  • Toyota: Toyota was the one automobile company that took the initiative of contacting us, even though we had not given any indication we would be writing about this topic. Their page about Toyota's Contributions to the Relief Effort detailed a $1 million donation to the American Red Cross and a program to match similar employee contributions.
  • Volvo: Opening page of their construction equipment web site included a link (now inactive) to a letter to New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani offering the city the use of Volvo and Mack vehicles and equipment at the Volvo Group's expense. (Volvo automotive is now owned by Ford.)
  • Volkswagen: Included a press release about VW's donation of 25 vans to the New York City Fire Department and another press release about the formation of a foundation to assist victims of terrorist attacks in the United States, which would be initially funded with $2 million from Volkswagen.
Last updated:   24 November 2008

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Sources:

    Buchanan, Doug.   "Honda: Sept. 11 E-mail a Hoax."
    Business First of Columbus.   6 February 2002.