Auto Industry Struggles With Sandy’s Aftermath

Thousands of vehicles were taken off the road — and thousands more new and used vehicles suffered massive damage from the storm.

Hurricane Sandy’s damage was widespread, and the auto industry may have felt it more acutely than many others.

New and used vehicles were hit hard, and thousands of consumers may be in the market for new vehicles as a result of flooding or other kinds of storm-related damage. More details:

Right now, I don’t think car sales are on the top of everybody’s mind.

Who got hit the worst? According to reports, Nissan suffered most, with 6,000 new vehicles damaged. Toyota and GM also lost a significant number of vehicles that were placed in a port in Newark, New Jersey.

Luxury maker hit hard: By far, Fisker Automotive had the highest ratio of damage to cost. The luxury electric car company had 330 of its Karma plug-in hybrid cars flooded at a port in Newark. At $100,000 each, the cost of the damage was estimated at $33 million.

Used vehicles damaged significantly: “We believe that between 100,000 and 250,000 vehicles currently in operation could be removed from used-vehicle supply once all is said and done,” the National Automobile Dealers Association’s Laurence E. Dixon III told Reuters.

Could it have been worse? According to Jim Appleton, president of the New Jersey Coalition of Automotive Retailers, many auto dealers moved their vehicles to higher ground, taking advantage of lessons learned during 2011’s Hurricane Irene.

What it means for consumers: Many auto companies are offering deals — including discounts on new vehicles in regions hardest-hit by the storm — but as Mark Schienberg, president of the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association, put it: “Right now, I don’t think car sales are on the top of everybody’s mind.”

If your association’s members were in this situation, how would you assist them so they could best handle both their losses as well their customers’? Let us know in the comments.

Cars damaged from flooding in New York City's Stuyvesant Town neighborhood. (photo by Ruanon/Flickr)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

Got an article tip for us? Contact us and let us know!