Automotive sages and soothsayers predicted a major fall off of car sales in 2018, mostly due to economic indicators, interest rate hikes, off-lease supply glut, so on and so forth. What they failed to consider as they formulated their forlorn forecasts was what big momma may have in the offing.
Historically, there’s nothing like Mother Nature to surge sales as well as flood waters. Remember Hurricane Katrina, up until now, the costliest disaster in US history? She wiped out nearly a half a million vehicles and consequently, automotive sales peaked at all-time record volume in 2005 which is no surprise considering the need to replace the water-ravaged wrecks. As fodder for another story, 10,000 of those totals ended up in Bulgaria, being sold as low-priced dream cars turned nightmares when the corrosive nature of the saltwater eventually totaled those vehicles for a second time.
Now we have Hurricane Florence, predicted to be the new Queen of collateral damage whose windy wrath is soon to be felt in dense population centers in both North and South Carolina. If it continues it’s arc up the coast, it has the potential to inflict destruction in Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New York, possibly into Massachusetts as well.
2017 saw record auto sales for the simple reason that Hurricane Harvey wreaked havoc, largely in Texas to the tune of 125 billion dollars, tying Katrina as one of the two deadliest hurricanes ever. It’s not ironic that 2005 and 2017 were two of the best years for car sales.
As one would expect, the best performing brands in Q3 of 2017 were representative of the three manufacturers historically favored by those geos hit hardest by the weather such as Texas, Florida, S. Carolina, Louisiana, and Georgia. Here’s the scoreboard; GM has experienced an 11.8% increase in sales, Ford at a 14.9% lift, and Toyota at an 8.9% spike.
GM and Ford pickups led the sales salvo with the Toyota cranking out record transactions as well. Nissan reported that its popular Rogue also set a record, selling just 4,000 units less than the Rav4.
What lies in store for car dealers up and down the coast remains veiled in a “wait and see” phase. If they can keep their inventory above water, and avoid surging flood water, they may be in for a monetary windfall.
Content Manager/Dealership News