3 Auto-Related Industries Benefitting From Hurricane Sandy

For every cloud, there is a silver lining. As terrible as Hurricane Sandy was, it could have been much worse in some areas. Plus, in the affected areas, at least a few industries are seeing something of a side benefit to the disaster. Namely, auto industries. About the only person unhappy is your auto insurer, but, hey, it’s what we’re here for.

Here are a few industries that are booming thanks to Hurricane Sandy.

1. Car Lots

Car dealerships had quite a financial write-down after Sandy. Two hundred and thirty thousand vehicles were destroyed, quite a few of them vehicles on car lots. Fortunately, most of those losses — corporate or private — were insured.

Which means, naturally, there are a lot of shoppers out looking for replacements. Car dealerships, both new and used, have simply been unable to keep cars on the lot, which is perhaps not surprising: New York state residents alone filed over 60,000 insurance claims due to Sandy-related damage, and that’s a lot of new, or “new to you,” cars, even for a major metropolitan area.

Especially difficult to keep available are smaller, more fuel-efficient cars: It turns out that a lot of people who had decided to wait until their junker of a car died discovered a hurricane had come in and murdered it for them. We guess that tree strike has at least one upside.

2. Repair Facilities and Auto Body Shops

Of course, not everybody was so unfortunate (or fortunate, depending on the quality of your car) as to have their car entirely totaled by a tree branch, or flooded up to the windows by dirty water. No, many people just experienced the usual dings and scrapes that come with rough weather; some may have gone through a bit more than that, but came through with a car in perfect working order… just one that looked like it got stuffed in a sack with rocks and rolled down a hill. Or possibly one that needed some work done to be back in tip-top shape.

Hence, repair shops are humming with activity as fenders are dinged out, smashed windshields are replaced, and sodden carpet is ripped out and replaced with something that won’t become a moldy nightmare in a few months. Shops are reporting waiting lists and long lines, and actually having to turn customers with minor complaints away.

3. Car Rental Lots

This brings us to the industry that perhaps least expected to get anything out of Sandy’s strike: car rental businesses.

Hurricanes are back for car rental franchises: Destroyed vehicles may not be easily replaced, and their mechanics have to hustle to get damaged but usable cars back on the road. But, with so many people either looking for a new car, or having to put their old one in the shop, those in need of cars have been turning up in droves at car rental facilities.

None of this is to make light of the tragedy and troubles of Hurricane Sandy. These businesses suffered too. But, after a disaster, it’s important to note that good things can come out of it, and that nothing is ruined permanently.

Except your car’s flooded carpets. Those are ruined for good.

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