The floodwaters may be receding and the massive cleanup in progress from the worst Atlantic storm ever recorded, but it’s just the beginning of getting back to normal for automakers and consumers who lost vehicles due to flooding or other storm-related damage
Damage caused by Hurricane Sandy to the New Jersey coastEnlarge Photo
As the table below illustrates, some automakers were hit harder than others. The biggest losers were Nissan, Toyota and Honda.
Nissan and Infiniti lost a combined more than 6,000 vehicles that were in port or at dealers to Hurricane Sandy, said David Reuter, a Nissan spokesman. “Dealers have made a quick recovery, and all but six were operational as of Wednesday, Nov. 7,” Reuter told The Car Connection.
Hyundai’s Lori Scholz said that the company’s vehicle count stands at 400+ new Hyundai’s that were on dealer lots. Scholz added that there were other vehicles that sustained damage, such as broken windshields due to the storms, that are not included in the count and “we are not tracking them.”
Ford said its dealers lost an estimated 800 vehicles in stock because of Sandy. Jim Cain, a GM spokesman, said that the automaker isn’t providing an estimate of flood-damaged vehicles but said that “based on field reports, the number is very small because the stores either weren’t in coastal areas that flooded or their dealers moved the stock before the storm.” Cain also added that there were some Chevrolet Spark subcompact cars at the Port of Newark that were damaged, “but not so many vehicles as to impact our launch momentum.”
Used cars lost
As for the total number of used cars affected, Larry Dixon, senior analyst for the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA), estimates that as many as 200,000 used vehicles may have to be scrapped.
Dixon told Bloomberg that this total “may be about one-third of what we saw with Hurricane Katrina, and that was about 600,000” new and used vehicles. Dixon also said that the NADA didn’t see “replacement demand starting to accelerate until we’re into December.”
As we reported earlier, expect used car prices to tick up post-Sandy, but consumers should beware of vehicles that may have been flooded cropping up in the market.
Automakers offer help
Consumers will get some help from automakers as they go about replacing their flood-damaged vehicles. Almost every car company has jumped in to support relief efforts with donations of cash and vehicles.
Nissan is offering employee pricing and discount financing for those who lost vehicles, as well as payment extensions for current customers.
Toyota is also offering extensions and lease-deferred payments, as well as redirecting billing statements, and arranging phone or online payments.
GM, Ford and Chrysler are all offering $500 cash toward the purchase or lease of a new vehicle. This applies only to consumers who lost one from the same automaker due to the storm.
Honda will defer payments and provide lease extensions to customers in the storm-hit region on a case-by-case basis.
Customers who lost a Toyota or Lexus to the storm will be able to delay monthly payments for three months if they buy or lease a new vehicle.
And Hyundai said it is reducing the price of a new replacement vehicle by $750.