Spokane Journal of Business

Car dealers increase their charitable giving, survey finds

Majority say they expect to boost contributions once again next year

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Survey data show that nearly two-thirds of U.S. car dealers have increased their charitable contributions in 2012 compared with 2011. In addition, more than half of those who responded said they plan to increase their charitable contributions in 2013.

The survey was conducted by Detroit-based automotive financial services company Ally Financial Inc. Specifically, 65 percent of dealers surveyed said their charitable contributions have increased this year versus last year, and 54 percent plan to boost their giving next year.

Nearly all, or 98 percent, of the dealers surveyed said they contribute to local organizations, with 25 percent of dealers and their staffs volunteering more than 100 hours in their community annually. About 45 percent of dealers said they contribute more than$20,000per year in their respective communities.

When asked about factors motivating dealers to contribute, 68 percent said it was to make a positive impact in the community, while 21 percent said it was due to a personal cause.

"Automobile dealers do a tremendous job supporting their local communities," saysTim Russi, executive vice president of North American auto operations for Ally Financial. "Ally will sponsor the TIME Dealer of the Year program again this year to recognize dealers from every state who donate their time and money to important causes."

The TIME Dealer of the Year award recipients are recognized for being among the nation's most successful auto dealers who also demonstrate a long-standing commitment to community service. Heading into its 44th year, the program is produced in cooperation with the National Automobile Dealers Association and is touted as one of the automobile industry's most prestigious awards for new-car dealers.

Nominees for the 2013 TIME Dealer of the Year Award will be announced this month, with the winner being named at the NADA Convention and Expo inOrlando, Fla.,onFeb. 9.

To acknowledge dealer contributions throughout the year, Ally also has launched AllyDealerHeroes.com, a new website highlighting the philanthropic efforts of dealers across the country.

"AllyDealerHeroes.com features inspiring stories about how dealers are making a difference in the communities where they live and work," says Ally's automotive marketing executive,Andrea Riley.

Riley adds that the site is a complement to the TIME Dealer of the Year program and will serve as an online community for dealers, local leaders, and consumers to share stories and collaborate on how to get involved and make a difference.

Ally Financial conducted a random sample survey inAugust 2012and received more than 300 responses from U.S. dealers. Survey questions focused on dealer levels of involvement in charitable giving and volunteerism in communities.

With about$179 billionin assets as ofJune 30, 2012, Ally Financial offers financing products and services that include new and used vehicle inventory and consumer financing, leasing, inventory insurance, commercial loans, and vehicle remarketing services.

Ally Bank, the company's direct banking subsidiary, offers certificates of deposit, savings accounts, money market accounts, IRA deposit products, and online checking.

Ally's commercial finance unit provides financing to middle-market companies across a broad range of industries.

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