How the Automotive Industry will Cope with Sandy

It’s hard to escape the images on the news networks and the Weather Channel: Homes knocked off their foundations, burned houses, washed-out neighborhoods, flooded streets and downed power lines. 39 people lost their lives, more than 8.2 billion homes and businesses lost power, and early financial estimates show at least $20 billion in property damage and $10 billion to $30 billion in lost business. These are staggering figures…

The Automotive industry is also feeling the effects of this “Frankenstorm.” Just as it was poised to finish strong in 2012, experts foresee several possible outcomes from Sandy – some good, and some bad:

Decreased month-end sales for October

  • Dealerships typically push month-end offers/specials, but when Sandy hit on the 29th, both foot traffic and sales were affected in Northeast.

Fear of buying a Used car flooded by Sandy

  • Experts say that more than half of the cars flooded by Hurricane Floyd were put back on the road. Buyers beware of cars that have been damaged by Sandy and re-sold; once an engine is damaged by flooding it will most likely never be the same again.

Power outages may cause All-Electric and Plug-In vehicle owners to reconsider

  • With the constant push for fuel economy and eco-friendly models, the recent power outages have left many All-electric and Plug-in vehicle owners wondering how they will charge their cars.

Special offers for Sandy victims

  • Some manufacturers and dealerships have already made special offers for Sandy victims. These good-will gestures may go far for PR and customer retention, but will also help with sales in the next few months.

Possible sales spikes in the Northeast

  • Many vehicles that fell victim to Sandy will need to be replaced. And, combined with the fact that the average age of a car today is approximately 11 years, car owners affected by the storm may be shopping for a car in the next few months.

It will be interesting to see how the Automotive industry reacts and moves forward in the wake of Sandy.

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