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Sandy coming to a used-car lot near you?

November 9, 2012
The effects of Superstorm Sandy are expected to ripple across the auto industry. While Sandy hurt October sales figures, as dealerships across the Eastern Seaboard missed several days of sales, experts expect that in the months ahead, the storm will boost an already-burgeoning industry as Sandy’s victims replace damaged vehicles. 
“If anything, it’ll make November an interesting month to watch,” said Jessica Caldwell, senior analyst for The storm decimated a region that accounts for about 20 percent of all U.S. car sales.
The destruction is likely to include thousands of vehicles damaged or destroyed by floodwater. In some cases, vehicles damaged by floodwater can be repaired. But if recent history is any indication, a number of seriously flood-damaged vehicles will wind up on used-car lots and sold to unsuspecting consumers. 
Experts say half of the vehicles damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Floyd were put back on the road. The National Automobile Dealers Association warns that damage from flooding may not begin to become apparent for 90 days or more.
“A car that’s been in a flood, with the engine submerged for any length of time, will never be the same,” said Carl Sullivan, who has nearly two decades of experience inspecting vehicles for AiM, a California-based team of auto inspectors.  
“It’s important for used-car shoppers to know how to spot flood damage no matter where they live, because these cars can end up on a dealer lot anywhere in the country,”  Sullivan said.