After Hurricane Ida’s battering, car dealers pick up pieces


The heads of dealer associations in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Louisiana told Automotive News they’ve been in contact with dealers about storm recovery efforts.

New Jersey dealerships, in particular, were hit hard by unprecedented flooding, said Jim Appleton, president of the New Jersey Coalition of Automotive Retailers. He estimated at least 10 to 15 dealerships in the state would experience significant losses. One dealer told Appleton he lost up to 150 vehicles.

“In some cases, even the locations dealers were moving cars to, which [were] presumed to be high and dry, were neither high enough nor dry enough to prevent a loss,” Appleton said.

A Tesla store in Paramus, N.J., experienced major structural damage and was deemed a “total loss” by Paramus Mayor Richard LaBarbiera, The Record reported.

New York dealerships seemed to fare slightly better. Mark Schienberg, president of the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association, said he hadn’t learned of stores with infrastructure so damaged that they couldn’t operate. But dealerships did experience flooding — in some instances, records in store basements were destroyed, Schienberg said.

“If there’s a silver lining to this weirdness, it’s that while there’s been damage of some vehicles in dealerships, there’s not a lot of cars out there,” Schienberg said. “So those numbers are not so significant as [they were] during Hurricane Sandy” in 2012.

John Devlin, president of the Pennsylvania Automotive Association, said he would know the extent of damage to dealerships in the eastern part of his state by the middle of this week.

“Mother Nature is hitting us hard,” Devlin said. “I know a lot of other states are getting it worse, but in the last 30 to 40 days, we’ve taken a number of hits.”

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