Ophelia Floods Auto Industry Inventory
A state of emergency has been declared due to Tropical Storm Ophelia not only in New York, but in New Jersey as well. New York City residents own about 2 million cars. About the same amount of people are estimated to ride the subways every day. Their cars are left at home on the streets and in parking garages. Workers and tourists alike commute in and out of the city daily. As parking spots are emptied, they fill up just as quickly. New York City, Long Island, and New Jersey have suffered severe flash floods and SoHo, Queens, Brooklyn, and Manhattan have experienced some of the greatest impacts. I’m seeing coastal car shows and automotive events from the Carolinas up through New England have been cancelled this weekend due to rain- soaked conditions and flooding, so this storm covered a lot of ground.
The injuries to human and animal lives, property damage to homes, public transportation, businesses, hazardous materials removal, garbage cleanup, clean water pollution, and future structure weakening in this delicate ecosystem will naturally be the top priorities to make whole. Allocating funds to help with these critical remnants from the 4-8+ inches of storm rain received are going to be the government’s critical targets to distribute aid. I’m in NY where it began raining around 2 am Friday morning and won’t stop for several hours.
Car dealerships have lost inventory stored on and off site, as well as consumers’ mass loss of cars. If you weren’t a believer that the UAW strike was going to impact inventory loss in the United States, you must understand how this event will compound those future projections, especially in the Northeast. Auto Dealers, if you’re in other parts of the country, with inventory distribution being global how will you avoid purchasing flood damaged vehicles from this storm through your regular channels?
Partners, what are we going to do to help our industry recover from this? A few items naturally come to mind. Inventory acquisition tools are obviously always on my mind. Lock in those subscriptions now as volumes tend to naturally drop going into Q4 causing availability to decline. I urge dealers to call their trusted partners to see what tools they have to offer to help with this. These could be additional investments or added value to products you’ve already purchased that you’re underutilizing. A safe way to take advantage of this is through mining your service drive where your trusted technicians already have their eyes on the inventory you want. Get dialed into quality control with your performance managers. What partnerships do you have that include vehicle history data services. You likely already purchase these yourselves, but if your partnerships offer additional brands, you can be more confident you’re buying the least damaged vehicles out there now. Contact your consultants who have years of experience helping dealers navigate the aftermath of storms.
As with every severe storm, our industry will feel the immediate and long-term impacts as we rebuild. Remember, every weather event now gets labeled as an “effects of global warming impact event”. They add to the reasons America should be more rapidly transforming to EV production, sale, and utilization. I don’t have to tell you how this movement impacts the used and new car industry. If you’re on this page, you already know.
To those of you impacted, I hope you are all safe and I wish you a speedy recovery from any loss suffered.
My postings on Dealer Marketing Magazine are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cox.
Jacci is the Director of Sales Northeast Kelley Blue Book ICO at Cox Automotive.
Specializing in digital marketing, social media, automotive insights analysis, effective vehicle & dealership merchandising, stocking, pricing, and various other dealership strategies coaching.
Jacci coaches a team of Sales Managers spanning 13 states, specializing in 7 Cox Automotive KBB solutions.View full profile