When Hurricane Ida made landfall in Louisiana last week, it left behind a catastrophic amount of damage and flooding. Residents were without homes and property was lost. In addition, the death toll continues to rise, proving how dangerous this storm was. Included in this damage are the thousands of auto dealerships that were in the hurricane’s path. Along with having to close dealerships during the storm, the auto industry received a blow it might not easily recover from.
Here are just a few of the many reports coming in, reflecting what car dealerships are now facing.
Louisiana Power Outages & Flooding
Community 99 reported that the Louisiana Automobile Dealers Association has been assessing the damage from the storm. Will Green, the organization’s president, has been having trouble getting everything in order because of the power outages and lack of cell service in some regions. There have also been areas blocked by flooding and debris, making it difficult to gain access.
However, Green has remained hopeful, especially when contrasting the damage to Hurricane Katrina. Still, a statement released from Green states, “Most of the affected dealers I’ve interacted with so far are at least without power. … Some have major damage to showrooms and inventory and still have a long way to go.”
Northeast Car Dealership Damage
While it’s clear that the southeast suffered a massive blow from the storm, the damage done in the northeast cannot go overlooked.
In Maryland, Shaffer Ford suffered damage rendering the dealership inoperable. On the company’s Facebook page, the latest post reads, “Shaffer Ford has suffered extensive damage and will not be open for regular business. We also do not have phone or internet service at this time. We apologize for any inconvenience. We will post updates on our situation. Please check back.” At this time, dealership personnel is cleaning up the debris left behind when the Wills Creek overflowed its banks on state Route 36 corridor.
In Paramus, New Jersey, the newer Tesla car dealership endured severe structural damage. NewJersey.com has posted a video illustrating the damage, which has now forced the dealership to declare a total loss.
However, some dealerships managed to continue doing business despite the damage. Bedford Ford Lincoln in Pennsylvania carried on during the cleanup, posting the following information on its Facebook page, “We took on water last night. We are open with full staff! Please bear with us as we clean up. Thank you for understanding!”
Brian Sell, the VP of Bedford Ford Lincoln, stated that the dealership took on up to four inches of water from Hurricane Ida. He says, “Ours was really a unique situation – it didn’t come from the river. It was a drainage pipe that backed up, so it was coming out the drainage pipe and it came in our showroom.”
Thankfully, all of the damage was contained to the floor, but computers fell victim to the water damage. He goes on to say, “We had just a couple inches of muddy water through our showroom, and we’ve got wet carpet. We’ve lost a couple of computers, but ironically my service department, the area down along the river, is completely dry.”
Stark Reminder to All Dealerships
If your dealership wasn’t in the pathway of Hurricane Ida, it’s important to take this information as a warning. Severe weather can strike anywhere, leaving a trail of damage behind. Now would be the perfect time to review the company’s insurance policies and retrain your employees on emergency preparedness.
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