A much-needed dose of good news following a catastrophic environmental crisis.
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Some of the world's biggest car brands and drivers have pitched in to assist in recovery efforts following the Australian bushfire crisis – offering donations, cars and support to firefighters, wildlife and affected communities.


UPDATE, 10/7/2020: Volkswagen has donated $1 million to bushfire reforestation efforts. Details in story.

This article was first published in January 2020.

After blazes decimated millions of hectares of land, left air quality at hazardous levels, claimed the lives of 34 people (updated 10/03/20) and killed more than a billion animals, prominent celebrities and sportspeople the world over have shown their support in the form of cash donations and social media posts.

British Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton was one of many to share his donation publicly, revealing he'd given $500,000 to nationwide rural fire services, along with WIRES Wildlife Rescue and the Australian arm of the Worldwide Wildlife Fund.

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It saddens me deeply to know that over 1 billion animals in Australia died a painful death, no way out, not their fault. My love of animals is no secret and I can’t help but grieve for the defenceless animals thought to have died so far, pushing certain species closer to extinction. I’m lucky enough to visit Australia often and I know first-hand how beautiful the country is. Keep fighting Australia. I’ve spent some time speaking to people in Australia who are working at the heart of this and I’m filled with admiration for everything they are doing. I implore you to join me in thinking about the impact we are having on our planet. Let’s work together to make small changes, and encourage our family and friends to do the same, so we can help shift the direction we’re going in. I’m donating $500K to support @wireswildliferescue @wwf_australia and the Rural Fire Services. If you are able and haven’t already, you can donate too. Every little helps. Animals: @wireswildliferescue @wwf_australia Rural Fire Services: @nswrfs @cfavic @rfbaq @dfes_wa @cfsfoundation #TasmanianFireService #PrayingForAustralia

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Interested in learning more about the other power players in the motoring industry who have lent a helping hand? Below, we've rounded up every car manufacturer, racing team and individual that's donated money to the bushfire appeal so far.

Volkswagen

UPDATE (10/7/2020): Volkswagen has pushed ahead with its promised $1 million donation to Bush Heritage Australia for bushfire and reforestation projects in Australia.

Of this amount, $250,000 will go towards the One Million Trees Project in the Eurardy Nature Reserve in Western Australia, while $750,000 will be put towards a project to restore 400 hectares in the Scottsdale Reserve in New South Wales.

Earlier in 2020, Volkswagen Group Australia had announced a $2.5 million donation toward relief and recovery efforts. Managing director Michael Bartsch said $500,000 had been designated for the fire services and the relief of those affected by the fires, $1 million would be channeled towards organisations involved with endangered wildlife, and the remaining $1 million would go towards the aforementioned reforestation.

VW Australia also created a GoFundMe page for employees, directing donations to the Rural Fire Authorities, WIRES, the Red Cross or the Lift Up Lithgow fundraiser. For every $1 donated by a VGA employee, VGA has pledged to contribute $2 up to $20,000.

Additionally, a representative for VGA revealed that a fundraising event was being held on January 17, 2020, while the nationwide dealer network was also conducting their own initiatives.

Jeep

To help bushfire-affected regions rebuild, Jeep partnered with not-for-profit Empty Esky – a national tourism initiative which encourages Australians to support the local economy by hitting the road and filling an empty esky with local produce and goods from small businesses in bushfire-affected areas.

Jeep Australia is supporting the development of the Empty Esky website, with their assistance allowing all 500 businesses registered on the Empty Esky website to be easily identified and searched and allowing travellers to download or create their own itinerary to visit and support affected areas.

Hyundai

Hyundai donated $300,000 to the Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund, as part of a Korean national contribution of roughly AU$1.9 million to the Republic of Korea National Red Cross (KNRC) for bushfire relief.

“The whole Korean nation was moved by the bushfire tragedy unfolding in Australia over the summer. On behalf of Hyundai Motor Company in Korea, I would like to wish the speediest of recoveries to all peoples in bushfire-affected regions, and express our thanks also to the Australian Red Cross for their ongoing relief efforts," Mr. Jun Heo, Chief Executive Officer of Hyundai Motor Company Australia, said.

Additionally, Hyundai Australia deployed 30 Hyundai Tucson loan vehicles into fire-affected regions in February 2020.

BMW

BMW Australia and BMW dealers collectively have pledged to donate $600,000 to the Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery appeal and the WWF.

“Our thoughts are with those lives that have been lost – including the precious wildlife and natural habitats – and the millions of hectares of farmland that has been damaged," the boss of BMW Australia, Vikram Pawah, told a Sydney press conference.

"We also express the deepest respect and admiration for the firefighters who have heroically protected people, properties and generally preventing the situation from being so much worse. Two of our own staff members even fought blazes in some of the most severe conditions imaginable.”

Peugeot

Peugeot has partnered with the Taronga Conservation Society Australia to aid recovery efforts for the country's devastated koala population, providing the zoo's carer crew with a long body Peugeot Expert van.

In addition to supplying the car, Peugeot Australia is covering fuel costs and road tolls.

“We are really excited to be able to support, in a practical way, the work being done by Taronga Conservation Society Australia in response to the bushfire crisis that has affected so much of our native wildlife,” Peugeot Australia’s General Manager of Marketing, Kate Gillis, said.

“It costs the zoo a staggering $50,000 to feed and house each koala and there are currently 12 in care so we are happy to do anything we can to help reduce that financial burden.”

Kia

As part of their ongoing involvement in the Australian Open, Kia is working in partnership with Tennis Australia to support their bushfire fundraising efforts, with final figures not yet known.

Honda

In a statement, a Honda representative confirmed that, so far, The Honda Foundation has provided 26 generators to communities via local dealers in affected areas.

They are also in close contact with organisations to understand how they can supply additional help in the recovery process.

Ford

Ford is offering support to bushfire-affected communities by offering vehicles to fire and emergency services and charities operating on the ground.

Additionally, Ford's philanthropic arm, the Ford Motor Company Fund, will donate $100,000 to the Australian Red Cross and match up to $50,000 in donations made by Ford employees and dealers.

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Ford’s employees and dealers in Australia and across the world are saddened by the devastating bushfires that have affected much of the country, and continue to threaten our communities, wildlife and ecosystems. We express our deepest thanks to the firefighters and volunteers working tirelessly to protect and care for people, animals, property and our beautiful forests and bushland. We are kicking off our contributions by offering vehicle support to fire and emergency services organisations and charities on the ground, and are working with the Ford Motor Company Fund - Ford’s philanthropic arm – to donate $100,000 to the Australian Red Cross. We’ll also match up to $50,000 of further donations now being made by our employees and dealers. If you would like to learn more about how you can support the bushfire crisis appeal, please click the link in our bio.

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Nissan

In a statement to CarAdvice, Nissan said it has "a range of programs in place to assist those impacted by the fires".

"We have a dedicated team to liaise with Nissan Financial Services Australia (NFSA) customers in impacted areas to provide appropriate support, and are actively reaching out to those adversely affected via email and SMS," the statement said.

"Additionally we are working closely with dealers in affected areas to support their businesses and customers during this difficult time, providing vehicles where appropriate to impacted communities, and assisting customers who need to purchase a new vehicle as a result of vehicle loss."

Holden

On January 10, 2020, Holden announced it would be pledging $1 million to the bushfire appeal, with the first $200,000 going to the Red Cross for immediate disaster relief.

"The remaining amount will be directed to where it will make the most meaningful impact, and we are working with our dealerships and partners in affected areas to coordinate these funds," Holden Australia said in a statement on Instagram.

"We will post more details in the coming weeks and months as the rebuilding effort begins in each local area."

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Holden employees and Dealerships across Australia are deeply saddened by the current bushfire disaster. Our hearts go out to every Australian impacted by this crisis. To show our support, we are pledging $1,000,000 to bushfire relief and recovery. To help with the immediate need for aid, the first $200,000 will be donated to @redcrossau for their Disaster Relief and Recovery efforts. The remaining amount will be directed to where it will make the most meaningful impact, and we are working with our Dealerships and partners in affected areas to coordinate these funds. We will post more details in the coming weeks and months as the rebuilding effort begins in each local area. In the meantime, we’d like to recognise the tireless work of our firefighters, emergency services, volunteers and communities in supporting those impacted by the fires. We encourage you to donate and show your support by visiting redcross.org.au

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Mitsubishi

A representative for Mitsubishi confirmed to CarAdvice that the company was supporting a number of organisations around the country but said that, "unless the organisations we are working with choose to publicise our support, we won’t be making any announcements."

Mitsubishi also released a statement on social media informing any Mitsubishi Motors Financial Services customers affected by the fires that they may be entitled to some assistance during their recovery.

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A message to those who finance with Mitsubishi Motors Financial Services.

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Isuzu

Isuzu UTE Australia has made a $50,000 donation to be split evenly between the Salvation Army and the World Wildlife Fund, while its Managing Director, Hiroyasu Sato, has encouraged the public to show support.

“Much of our country is in crisis and need our help, which is why Isuzu UTE is driving support towards the Salvation Army and the World Wildlife Fund - to help Australians in need,” said Mr Sato.

“But, it’s not just the homes of Australians that have been destroyed; the fires have also burnt the habitats of the native wildlife - with reports of close to a billion animals affected by this crisis - which is why the World Wildlife Fund need our help too.”

Toyota

In November 2019, Toyota Motor Corporation Japan and Toyota Australia jointly pledged $250,000 - a sum they later added to as part of their partnership with Cricket Australia.

After donating $3000 for every '4' hit and $6000 for every '6' hit during day four of the Sydney test and Big Bash League match, Toyota managed to raise $223,000 for the Salvation Army, bringing their total donation figure to $473,000.

Jaguar Land Rover

Jaguar Land Rover has had a formal partnership with the Australian Red Cross since 2014 with the goal of helping vulnerable communities prepare for natural disasters.

As such, JLR provides an existing fleet of eight Land Rover vehicles for use by Red Cross staff and volunteers, but is supplying an additional emergency fleet of 20 Land Rover Discovery and Discovery Sport vehicles amid the bushfire crisis.

According to a JLR representative, this support is open ended but the estimated value is approximately $150,000.

“We have a long and established relationship with the Red Cross and since 2014, Land Rover funding has enabled the Australian Red Cross to help over 100,000 people," said Mark Cameron, Jaguar Land Rover Australia Managing Director.

"Their urgent need is for cash donations but also capable transportation in order that their staff and many volunteers can quickly reach those most in need. Therefore we are committing to substantially increase the Land Rover fleet at their disposal."

JAX Tyres

JAX Tyres customers and stores have raised over $55,000 so far for the Red Cross, with more to come.

"In January, JAX Tyres will continue to contribute by donating $10 for every set of Laufenn, Pirelli or Mickey Thompson tyres sold, to the Red Cross initiative," the company said in a statement.

Mark Webber

Australian F1 driver Mark Webber has urged his 254,000 Instagram followers to donate to WIRES for wildlife in the wake of the tragic loss of animals as a result of the fires.

He also partnered with his celebrity friends Eric Bana and Pat Rafter to auction off a dinner with all three men in an effort to raise funds for the Australian Red Cross and the Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund.

Meanwhile, a piece of Webber's F1 history - an exhaust header from his 2010 Red Bull Renault car - is being auctioned off by its owner, World Time Attack Challenge CEO Ian Baker, to raise funds for the Red Cross. The current bid at the time of publishing was $3450.

Daniel Ricciardo

Like many of his peers, Daniel Ricciardo used Instagram to plead with fans to donate.

"Anyone who is kind enough to donate, please do," he said in an Instagram video.

"There's the Australian Red Cross and there's WIRES wildlife rescue, I'm sure there's a bunch more but these are two I've donated to, so please - if you can."

The F1 star also pledged to auction off his signed race suit from the Australian Grand Prix to raise funds.

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Thinking of everyone affected by our fires ?? any help will go a long way @redcrossau @wireswildliferescue

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Scott McLaughlin

Supercars champion Scott McLaughlin's contribution was to auction off his 2017 helmet and race suit on eBay.

The pieces of memorabilia fetched a whopping $46,200, a figure the Kiwi driver pledged to personally match, bringing his total contribution to $92,400.

The proceeds went to the Red Cross and WIRES wildlife rescue.

Thomas Randle

Australian racing driver Thomas Randle raised $3005 on eBay by auctioning off his 2019 race suit, with all the proceeds going to the Red Cross.

Jack Miller

Australian MotoGP star Jack Miller auctioned off his 2018 helmet online to raise funds for the NSW Rural Fire Service.

"I’ll ship it to the winner, I can sign it or make it out to someone," he said of the helmet, which fetched $18,000 as a final bid.

The Red Bull Holden Racing Team

The Red Bull Holden Racing Team donated $25,000 to the bushfire relief effort on December 10, 2019.

If you would like to donate to bushfire relief effort, you can give funds to the Red Cross, WIRES for wildlife victims, the Salvos, the Food Bank, the NSW Rural Fire Service, the CFA and the CFS Foundation for volunteer firefighters.