AKRON (Oct. 5, 2001) — Donations continue to pour in from the tire industry supporting disaster aid and relief efforts for victims and their families impacted by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the U.S.
Hankook Tire America Corp., a subsidiary of Hankook Tire Co. Ltd. in South Korea, and Yokohama Rubber Co. in Japan and its U.S. unit, Yokohama Tire Corp., each recently announced $100,000 donations to the American Red Cross.
In addition, tire dealerships Ken Towery's Tire & Auto Centers and Merchant's Tire and Auto Centers Inc. have made donations of their own.
These companies join others, including Goodyear, Michelin, Bridgestone, Cooper Tire & Rubber Co., Continental Tire North America Inc., American Car Care Centers, TBC Corp. and several industry associations that previously announced contributions.
In making its donation, excutives of Wayne, N.J.-based Hankook pointed to the tireless efforts of the Red Cross in aiding those impacted by the attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.
Hankook said its U.S. dealers and employees also have contributed individually to numerous relief agencies and support groups.
“So many people have been affected by this enormous tragedy,” said J. W. Choi, president and CEO of Hankook Tire America. “We are pleased to do our part to help alleviate the anguish of the families and communities that have been dealt such a severe blow as a result of these attacks.”
Yokohama in Japan, its U.S. subsidiary and U.S. employees also are donating $100,000 to the American Red Cross Relief Fund.
In addition, Yokohama–sponsored racers of Team PTG BMW will be sporting a new look for Petit LeMans-ALMS in October. All three BMW race cars have been repainted red, white and blue to honor the victims, their families and those who have participated in the recovery effort.
“We hope this company-wide effort will help us all participate in the healing and recovery process facing our nation,” said Mr. Koji Ikawa, president of Yokohama Tire.
The tire maker also has committed to donating to the New York Firefighters 9-11 Disaster Fund, the charity of choice for the The Audi Petit Le Mans race, which was scheduled for Oct. 6 in Atlanta. The company said whatever money generated by it and its co-sponsors at this race would go to the charity.
Though falling short of what it hoped, Louisville, Ky.-based Ken Towery's Tire & Auto Centers has donated $10,000 to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.
The dealership pledged half its profits from a week to the fund, with a minimum donation of $10,000. The latter figure ended up as its contribution, as the effects of the slowed economy impacted sales.
“We're in the same boat as all these retail businesses,” said Vice President of Marketing Kris Towery. “We had an off week. When this whole thing came about everyone in the whole country wanted to give something.”
Even though the amount was less than hoped, the gesture was not lost on patrons, with customers coming in a few weeks ahead of time to buy tires so their purchases would be included in the donation effort. “It was a way for us to help and a way for our customers to help,” Mr. Towery said.
Towery's has 16 locations in Kentucky and Indiana and sells most major tire brands.
Manassas, Va.-based Merchant's is donating $1 from every oil change service performed in its 120 mid-Atlantic region stores during October to the Survivor's Fund of the National Capital Region.
The fund is providing for the long-term needs of the Pentagon attack victims and their families in the Washington metro area.
“All of us here at Merchant's are deeply concerned for the victims, their families and especially for the surviving children,” said CEO Michael Riggan.
“With our customers' help, we hope to make a meaningful contribution to their future support,” Mr. Riggan added.
One of the positive effects of this national tragedy is the upsurge of Americans' sense of unity and patriotism, Merchant's said.
To help individuals display their national pride, the company began offering free American Flag static-cling auto decals Sept. 30 to the first 50 customers visiting every store.
“Our national pride will help sustain us during the difficult times that may lay ahead, and we want to help our customers demonstrate this pride,” Mr. Riggan said.
In addition to local advertising, the company said it has placed a special banner ad promoting the special on America Online's home page in the Northern Virginia and Maryland area, as well as an on the www.tarheels.com Web site.
Tire Business reporters Chuck Slaybaugh, Todd Stumpf and Vera Fedchenko contributed to this report.