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About 250,000 Vehicles Damaged or Destroyed by Superstorm Sandy

Experts warn of potential fraud as scammers try to re-sell damaged vehicles.

by on Feb.22, 2013

If you're not careful, someone might try to sell you one of these vehicles damaged by Superstorm Sandy.

Massive piles of debris have yet to be removed from some of the areas hardest hit by Superstorm Sandy, and it could be years before the damage is fully totaled up, never mind repaired, but adjusters have come up with a fairly conclusive tally of the automotive impact, an insurance industry trade group reporting that 250,500 vehicles were damaged or destroyed when the disaster hit the East Coast last October.

About 150,000 of those were in New York, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, which serves a major group of insurance companies. That’s actually an increase since an earlier estimate of about 130,000 in the Empire State.

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And even the latest list may underestimate the extent of the damage, warns a statement from the NICB which says, “These are insured losses only. There are certainly many uninsured vehicles that were damaged by Sandy and those numbers are not reflected in this information.”  It’s not clear if vehicles that aren’t covered by insurance companies that aren’t members of the trade group were also left out of the new count.

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Car Rentals Could Be a Challenge Over Holiday, Especially Out East

Rentals reportedly in short supply due to Hurricane Sandy.

by on Nov.21, 2012

With so many vehicles destroyed by the superstorm, demand for rentals may exceed supply this holiday along the East Coast.

By various estimates, Superstorm Sandy destroyed as many as 200,000 cars when it swept through the Atlantic Coast three weeks back.  The impact could be felt not only by those who’ve lost their wheels but by countless thousands of travelers who will struggle to find a rental vehicle over the holiday weekend.

Despite shifting tens of thousands of cars to the tri-state New York area and other of the hardest-hit regions, rental firms are barely keeping up with demand for local residents who need temporary transportation. It is even more difficult for those who’re dropping in for the holidays.

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“Tight availability is typical of any holiday weekend,” explained Paula Rivera, a spokesperson for Hertz. “For those who haven’t made reservations, the availability is extremely tight at this point in time. So the probability of securing a car for travel over Thanksgiving weekend is slim,” she told the NPR-affiliated Transportation Nation.

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Superstorm Sandy Claimed as Many as 200,000 Cars

Most must be replaced.

by on Nov.08, 2012

More than 320 Fisker Karmas were lost at this NJ port, including over a dozen that burned when saltwater shorted their batteries.

A handful of images underscore the devastation caused by Superstorm Sandy: collapsed homes on Staten Island, a ruined roller coaster on the Seaside Heights, NH boardwalk now sitting in the ocean waves – and cars floating out of flooded Manhattan garages.

A preliminary estimate by the National Automobile Dealers Association suggests that as many as 200,000 vehicles may have been damaged by the storm, though that figure could run higher as insurance adjusters and other experts tally things up.

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While it is possible that some of those vehicles will be salvageable, a disproportionate number will likely have to be scrapped, however, due to not only the immediate damages but potential for long-term problems with vehicles that have been immersed in saltwater.

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Superstorm Likely to Hit New, Used Car Buyers in the Wallet

But you could get more for your trade-in over the coming months.

by on Oct.31, 2012

Cars float out of a flooded garage in Manhattan after Superstorm Sandy drove record floodwaters into the city. Photo courtesy Ray Wert, Jalopnik.

With much of the Eastern Seaboard still digging out and drying out from Superstorm Sandy estimates now put the damage at anywhere up to $50 billion, perhaps more.  But in the weeks to come, even consumers as far away as the West Coast could feel the pinch.

That is likely to be especially true for car buyers.  Early estimates suggest that tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands of vehicles were damaged to the point they will need to be replaced.  And that is likely to drive up prices for both new and used vehicles in the weeks and months ahead, experts warn.

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If there’s a positive side for consumers it could mean better prices for those looking to trade in a car. For the industry, it’s likely to add even more momentum to the U.S. automotive market’s ongoing recovery.

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Superstorm Sandy Could Impact Unsuspecting Used Car Buyers.

How to avoid a flood-damaged car – and what to do if it’s yours.

by on Oct.30, 2012

Could some of these flooded cars wind up back on the market?

It could be days, even weeks, before the storm-battered Eastern Seaboard dries out.  Brutal winds and extensive flooding, from Maine to the Carolinas, has wrecked homes and businesses, and left millions without power, even the New York subway system forced to close.

The destruction is likely to include thousands of vehicles damaged or destroyed by floodwater. In some cases, vehicles can be repaired. But many will have suffered extensive, irreparable damage and should be scrapped.  That doesn’t mean they will be.

If recent history is any indication, a number of seriously flood-damaged vehicles will wind up on used car lots and sold to unsuspecting consumers. Experts say half of the vehicles damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Floyd were put back on the road.

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“A car that’s been in a flood, with the engine submerged for any length of time, will never be the same,” said Carl Sullivan, who has nearly two decades of experience inspecting vehicles for AiM, a California-based team of auto inspectors.  “It’s important for used car shoppers to know how to spot flood damage no matter where they live, because these cars can end up on a dealer lot anywhere in the country.”

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Sandy Taking Steam Out of Strong Oct. Sales

But November demand could surge as the Eastern Seaboard dries out.

by on Oct.30, 2012

Mother Nature overwhelms what had been a strong October for the US auto industry.

Hurricane Sandy is taking the steam out of what was on track to be a strong October for U.S. car sales.

The still-massive storm shut dealerships across New England and the mid-Atlantic states, including major metropolitan areas such as New York, Washington D.C. Baltimore and Philadelphia. And heavy winds, rain and storm continue impacting business as far west as Ohio, Michigan and beyond.

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Prior to the wicked and deadly storm, analysts had expected October sales to increase by roughly 11.5 % from October 2011. Before the storm warnings went up, True Car.com, a source of pricing information for new car buyers, estimated October 2012 would see a Seasonally Adjusted Annualized Rate, or SAAR, of 14.9 million new vehicles, up from 13.3 million in October 2011 — though down very slightly from the 14.94-million-unit SAAR of September 2012.

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