Car makers give bushfire victims a break
Car makers have responded to the summer's bushfire disasters with cash donations, vehicles for emergency services, reprieve for customers in financial distress and extended leave for volunteers.
Volkswagen committed $2.5 million to bushfire causes on Thursday, allocating $500,000 to fire services, $1 million for organisations involved with endangered wildlife and $1 million toward reforestation.
The manufacturer's response is among the most generous from corporate Australia, matching the AFL.
Volkswagen Group Australia managing director Michael Bartsch said the bushfires represented "an unprecedented disaster".
"Volkswagen has been part of Australian life since the 1950s," he said.
"Therefore, we step up both to assist those at forefront of this crisis and to aid in what will be a protracted recovery."
Holden pledged $1 million toward bushfire relief and recovery on January 10, announcing the first $200,000 would go to the Australian Red Cross.
It said the rest of the money would be used "where it will make the most meaningful impact", with specific details to be confirmed.
Toyota Australia and its Japanese parent company donated $250,000 to The Salvation Army Disaster Appeal in November 2019, following it up with a further $223,000 in January.
Ford donated $100,000 to the Red Cross, and is prepared to match up to $50,000 more in donations by employees and dealers.
Like many brands, the blue oval has offered cars to assist organisations in need.
Other top 10 best-selling brands have been more discreet.
Representatives of Hyundai and Mazda say the marques have made donations but prefer not to make details public.
Kia will donate to the bushfires cause through its partnership with Tennis Australia and the Australian Open.
The Honda Foundation initially donated 26 generators to provide power to communities in affected areas, and is working with organisations on the ground to provide additional help.
Mitsubishi made undisclosed donations and responded to government calls for extended paid leave for emergency service volunteers by giving staff up to four weeks of paid leave to assist in the bushfire crisis.
It will also work with people affected by fires who have outstanding bills with Mitsubishi's finance arm.
Nissan Financial Services Australia is taking a similar approach by working with people in impacted areas.
Dealers are providing cars where appropriate, and employees have been encouraged to volunteer in recovery efforts.