DETROIT — Automobile dealers are in a giving mood, according to a recent survey by Ally Financial. It showed that nearly two-thirds of U.S. dealers increased their charitable contributions in 2012 vs. 2011. In addition, more than half of those who responded said they plan to increase their charitable contributions in 2013. 

Specifically, the Ally survey found that 65 percent of dealers surveyed said their charitable contributions increased in 2012 versus last year. Fifty-four percent said they plan to increase their contributions in 2013. Additionally, 98 percent of dealers surveyed contribute to local organizations, with 25 percent of dealers and their staffs volunteering more than 100 hours in their community annually.

Approximately 45 percent of dealers contribute more than $20,000 per 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,” said Tim 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 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 renowned 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 in October, with the winner being named at the NADA Convention and Expo in Orlando, Fla., on Feb. 9.

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

“ features inspiring stories about how dealers are making a difference in the communities where they live and work,” said Andrea Riley, Ally’s auto marketing executive. “The site is a perfect complement to the TIME Dealer of the Year program and will serve as an online community for dealers, local leaders and even consumers to share stories and collaborate on how to get involved and make a difference.”