Babylon Honda moved its entire new- and used-car inventory a five-minute drive farther inland as Hurricane Sandy approached last month. The regular lot was swamped in the storm, and in recent weeks it’s been swamped by customers replacing cars destroyed by Sandy.
“I’ve been in business since 1964, and I’ve never had a month like this before,” said Gary Schimmerling, president of the dealership in West Babylon, N.Y., about 45 minutes east of Manhattan on Long Island. He expected to sell more than 250 new vehicles, compared with 100 in a typical November, Schimmerling said.
Replacement demand from owners of damaged vehicles and purchases deferred by the superstorm that slammed the East Coast could boost U.S. car and light-truck sales in November to the best monthly pace in more than four years, according to a Bloomberg survey of analysts.
U.S. light-vehicle deliveries probably rose 12 percent in November to 1.11 million, the average of estimates by 10 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. The annualized industry sales rate, adjusted for seasonal trends, may accelerate to 15 million, the average of 15 analysts’ estimates.
For October, all automakers reported deliveries that trailed average estimates from Bloomberg’s survey after Hurricane Sandy inflicted almost $70 billion in damage to New York and New Jersey alone.
“It’s been really a disaster for a lot of people here, where they lost everything,” Schimmerling said. “Some of these people that walk in are in tears.”