AutoGuide.com

Why Nissan’s Commitment to Habitat for Humanity Matters

2

The Nissan GT-R is about 10 years old and its fanbase hasn’t gotten tired of it yet. Why? Because it’s a car that represents chance and opportunity, two elements that are found in every corner of our lives.

A major political talking point these days revolves around refugees and immigrants. These are people who are leaving behind a world they’ve known for the opportunity to get something better. You can’t blame them when their homes are no longer safe, or appropriate places to raise children they look to the places that they’ve heard so many positive things about. They hear nothing but good things about North America. Things like libraries where people can borrow books for free or use computers with unrestricted internet access, or maybe they hear about our gorgeous parks and conservation areas which are open to all. They hear about lower mortality rates and schools that accept people no matter their age, gender or economic situation. It’s a hard call to resist when homelands are being bombed, terrorized, financially destitute and physically or socially oppressed.

All these families have to do is take a chance, and maybe someone will take a chance on them in return.

Our land is full of opportunities for those not just from away, but here too. However, it’s hard to articulate just what those opportunities mean for someone who has never had them. Not everyone has the same chances, and getting out of a tough spot requires some help.

A company like Habitat for Humanity takes those chances, and it’s always amazing to see that in action. The non-profit organization works in over 1,300 communities throughout the U.S. and in 70 other countries, providing people who need a hand the chance for a safe and affordable place to live.

Last year, Nissan donated $1-million to the organization, including new Titan trucks and NV vans. Nissan employees also volunteer regularly to help give back to their, and other communities. Benefactors of habitat builds include people who have been displaced by natural disasters.

While Nissan isn’t the only automaker involved with Habitat, it does have a long-standing relationship with the organization, beginning in the U.S. back in 2005 and in Canada back in 2008. The automaker regularly encourages employees to volunteer at build sites, and we snuck in and joined the work.

At a build site in Burlington, Ontario, over three dozen volunteers (including a few members of the media) geared up to help build a future home to someone in need. Burlington has been battling issues with poverty, with some 10 percent living on a household income of less than $40,000. Simply put, getting some affordable housing in the city is a goal.

How does it feel to help out in the community rather than driving by it while reviewing a car or participating in a first drive event? It’s hard work, not to mention we volunteered during a particularly nasty heat wave. It was nice though to see so many people working together for a common goal with a positive outcome for the community. Even the rivalry between publications became non-existent as the guys from The Straight Pipes, Autotrader.ca and Wheels.ca joined forces to lay out a foundation and raise some walls.

It’s a calculated gamble by both Nissan and Habitat. The organization believes that affordable housing is a basic human right, and you can’t argue with that. And for Nissan, how can people buy cars when they’re spending all their money on rent? Still, sometimes it pays to do stuff that perhaps doesn’t make fiscal sense but is still the right thing to do.

That brings me back to the GT-R, the world-beating supercar of 2008. When it showed up nearly a decade ago, it opened up the opportunities for someone to drive a car with world-class performance and engineering. With a price tag of around $70,000 when it debuted, it could hang with cars that cost three times as much, and it captured the attention of enthusiasts for this go-getter attitude.

But it could be argued that it was quite the gamble for the automaker to develop a car like that costs a lot of money and they aren’t built in such numbers like the more mainstream vehicles like the Rogue or Altima. Then there’s the fact that they brought it to North America, a market where the Skyline GT-R nameplate has never been, where it was just a legend, only to be experienced through video-games, magazines, and word of mouth from around the world. But it’s here and not only fast but popular, getting attention everywhere it goes. Our YouTube video review of the car from over a year ago has 800,000 views and counting, a wild number for a car that hasn’t seen a significant change in 10 years.

But why wouldn’t it be so popular? Nissan provided a wider opportunity for those enthusiasts who wanted supercar performance, a previously unobtainable measure; just like Habitat for Humanity offers an opportunity for safe, affordable housing to those in need.

Nissan isn’t the only automaker to support Habitat for Humanity. Subaru has been partnering up too, but volunteers and donations are always in limited supply. To learn more head to the Habitat for Humanity website.