Barely one year after the devastation that went along with Hurricanes Harvey and Maria, the U.S. is once again reeling from the effects of Hurricane Florence. As of Monday, September 24, 2018, as many as 8,000 people were still on alert for possible evacuations. According to the National Weather Service, five river gauges are still at major flood stage in North Carolina, and five others are at moderate flood stage. Parts of Interstate 40 are expected to remain underwater for at least another week. According to a recent estimate from an economic research firm, Hurricane Florence has caused approximately $44 billion in damage and lost output, which would make it one of the top 10 costliest U.S. hurricanes.
So, what does this mean for the retail automotive industry in the affected areas? Once the flood-waters recede and consumers have the opportunity to assess the damage to their homes and vehicles, we can expect those consumers to begin the process of replacing their vehicles. This will most likely coincide with the holiday car buying surge for which dealerships across the nation are already preparing.
Dealerships on the Eastern Seaboard will be hard pressed to ensure they have enough inventory to meet demand. In addition, when people flock to the stores in large groups, we can always expect identity crimes to rise. Whether that means stealing private, confidential information to use at a later date, or trying to buy products using false identification, dealers need to be prepared for every possibility. Continue reading