GO
Loading...

Enter multiple symbols separated by commas

Super Storm Sandy's Impact on October Auto Sales

Super Storm Sandy's Impact on October Auto Sales
Peter Cade | Stone | Getty Images

Hurricane Sandy and the devastation she brought to New York, New Jersey and huge sections of the East Coast definitely took a bite out of October sales.

What's still not clear is how much it hurt the monthly totals. "There was definitely an impact to the business," says Kurt McNeil, Vice president of U.S. Sales for General Motors.

"It was certainly a few thousand units, we are trying to quantify that as we speak." General Motors estimates the industry sales rate for October likely dropped by approximately 300,000.

With automakers feeling a punch from Sandy, few expect the October auto sales rate to approach 15 million. That's a change from earlier in the month when many in the industry thought this would finally be the month when the SAAR topped 15 million for the first time in 5 years.

October Auto Sales

  • General Motors Up 4.8%
  • Ford Up 0.4%
  • Chrysler Up 10.2%
  • Toyota Up 15.8%
  • Volkswagen Up 22.4%

Losing the Last Week of Sales

As Hurricane Sandy bore down on the East coast last Monday, it shut down hundreds of dealerships for the final three days of October. Since dealers often have their best sales in the final days of a month, the lost business is substantial. Some in the industry think dealers in the Northeast probably suffered an entire week of lost sales. "I think it's likely many dealers saw very slow sales the last week of October as people were more focused preparing for Sandy," says Anthony Pratt, head of forecasting for Polk.

(Read More: Complete Coverage of Hurricane Sandy)

It's hard to say exactly how many potential sales were delayed because of Sandy, but Pratt believes enough business was lost to bring down estimates for the industry's full year sales pace. "Those sales lost by Sandy won't come back right away. They'll be spread out over the months to come and well into early next year," says Pratt.

No Power in the Showroom

For many dealers in New York and New Jersey they are more focused on cleaning up their lots and getting power to the showroom. The Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association estimates over 60% of its member dealers are not operational.

"Over 50% of our dealers in NJ are trying to regain power," says McNeil. "We are doing everything we can and we will work with those individual dealers to help them with their inventory needs to get up to speed as quickly as possible."

"Historically, sales tend to snap back quickly after a disaster like this. Obviously a lot of those consumers and businesses will need vehicles soon," says McNeil.

__________________________

Click on Ticker to Track Corporate News:

- General Motors

- Ford Motor

- Toyota Motor

- Nissan

- Honda Motor

___________________________ Questions? Comments? BehindTheWheel@cnbc.com and Follow me on Twitter @LeBeauCarNews

Contact U.S. News

  • CNBC NEWSLETTERS

    Get the best of CNBC in your inbox

    Please choose a subscription

    Please enter a valid email address
    To learn more about how we use your information,
    please read our Privacy Policy.

Don't Miss

  • A vintage car with a Cuban flag paint job is parked near the National Capitol Building in Havana on Jan. 7, 2015.

    Companies wanting to do business in Cuba should heed this warning from a former federal prosecutor and SEC attorney.

  • Christina Grimmie

    Singer/songwriter Christina Grimmie, a season six contestant on "The Voice," is reading Manga thrillers and tales about faith this summer.

  • Donald Trump

    From one real estate mogul about another: Don't underestimate Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

U.S. Video

  • A new look at growth

    CNBC's Steve Liesman reports on first half growth that points to a possible September rate hike.

  • Windows 10 launches

    Josh Lipton explains why Microsoft has so much riding on the launch of its new flagship product.

  • Oil prices rebound

    The move higher in crude prices may be short lived.