Sandy, Bloody Sandy: Mega-Hurricane Destroys 200,000 Vehicles, Including 15,000 New Cars

The biggest Atlantic storm ever in U.S. history, which hit New Jersey, New York and the surrounding regions with 100 mph+ (160 km/h) winds that caused at least 100 deaths, has left the East Coast counting its losses and trying to fix the damages. The catastrophe brought about by mega-hurricane Sandy damaged or completely destroyed thousands of new and used vehicles owned by dealerships as well as individuals. According to initial estimates, Toyota, Chrysler, Nissan and Honda will have to write-off around 15,000 brand-new cars. Nissan spokesman Travis Parman told The Detroit News that “between dealer and port vehicles for both Nissan and Infiniti, initial estimates have us at more than 6,000 units as ‘un-saleable’ to be scrapped”. Nearly 4,000 Toyota and Lexus vehicles were at the company’s Newark port facilities when Sandy hit, said Toyota California spokeswoman Jana Hartline: “We have about 1,300 that we’re taking a second look at, that may be salvaged”, she added, “but a little bit under 3,000 will likely be scrapped.” “Total vehicles affected may be about one-third of what we saw with hurricane Katrina, and that was about 600,000 vehicles”, senior analyst for the National Automobile Dealers Association Larry Dixon told the Detroit daily. This brings the number of new and used vehicles that will be written-off to around 200,000, with Dixon adding that the association does not expect “replacement demand starting to accelerate until we’re into December”. Light vehicle sales increased by 6.9 percent in October, well below the 12 percent average figure recorded since the end of September. Honda and Acura will scrap around 3,440 vehicles, according to company spokesman Chris Martin. Fisker Automotive lost 320 of its US$100,000+ Karma hybrids worth more than $32,000,000 (€25 million) that were on their way to be delivered to customers when the storm hit. “We don’t have a full estimate of the cost to replace them yet”, said Fisker spokesperson Roger Ormisher. Toyota, Honda, as well as GM and Ford are on the same boat (or so to speak) and are still assessing the number of vehicles they lost in the disaster that followed. By Andrew Tsaousis