Altogether, it is expected that Florence has passed about 20,000 vehicles. Photo credit: Reuters
Although Florence has certainly damaged the car sales in the Carolinas – first as a category 1 hurricane, but as persistent rain and flooding – the extent of the damage is expected to be a fraction of what Hurricane Harvey in the Houston area has brought years, according to analysts.
Black Book, a company that values the value of a vehicle, estimates the coastal communities affected by the storm to have a population of about 325,000, which is about 5 percent of the more than 6 million people living in the Houston metropolitan area. (The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration puts the total population of North Carolina on the coast at about 1 million, although the worst affected by the storm hits the southeastern part of the state.)
The company estimated that Hurricane Harvey has damaged some 450,000 vehicles. (A Moody's estimate brought the total to 400,000, and Cox Automotive said that about 600,000 vehicles were damaged or destroyed.) Altogether, it is expected that Florence has shed some 20,000 vehicles, said Anil Goyal, senior analyst from Black Book, who also warned that the aftereffect of the storm continues to develop.
Though Harvey was a bit erratic, Florence's track was largely based on how meteorologists had predicted, Goyal said. Dealers knew the potential damage was great, and many switched their inventory to a higher or safe location. This may have further reduced the total destruction of the vehicle.
Cox analyst Jonathan Smoke also noted in comments prior to the storm that the density of the vehicle in Houston and the nature of the floods there after the hurricane Harvey caused a considerable loss. But the vehicle density on the broad path of Florence – from Savannah, Ga., To Norfolk, Va. – is about half that of Houston. That area has about 9 million vehicles in operation, with a density of 162 vehicles per square mile, compared to 326 vehicles per square mile in the Houston area, Smoke said. Smoke estimated 20,000 to 40,000 vehicles potentially destroyed in the Carolinas.
"Our assessment has not changed," Cox said in an update Tuesday.
Another contrast: when Harvey descended over the area around Houston, the car market was located in the typical dunes of late summer and the demand for demand, especially for used vehicles, began to rise. But this year the market is different. "In this case, the market is actually very strong today," Goyal said. Sales will only be further strengthened and price pressure is likely to increase, especially in the region hit by the storm.