Photo: ldills / Instagram
Used-car prices are expected to rise $200 to $1,000 nationwide because Superstorm Sandy wiped out as many as 250,000 new and used vehicles.Buyers already are starting to show up at dealers to replace the 100,000 to 250,000 vehicles that the National Automobile Dealers Association estimates were lost to the storm that devastated New York’s Staten Island and coastal New Jersey.
“This weekend was extremely busy,” says Brian Benstock, general manager of Paragon Honda in the Queens borough of New York.
He estimates half of the buyers over the weekend were those looking for replacements for storm-damaged vehicles.
Edmunds.com, a car buyers’ research website, says prices could rise $700 to $1,000 a car because supplies are limited.
Economists for two of the nation’s largest wholesale auto auctions say they expect the sudden burst of demand could raise used-car prices by up to 2(per cent) — about $200 on a $10,000 car — above normal.
“It’s definitely going to raise used-car demand,” says Tom Kontos, executive vice president for Adesa Analytical Services, the consulting arm of one big auction.
“It’s going to keep prices higher than it otherwise would be.”
Although prices will be higher, many buyers may not notice. Before the storm, prices had been drifting down as they typically do in the fall, Kontos says.
The average price of the recent-model used cars sold to dealers at wholesale auctions was $9,742 in October, down 1.4(per cent) from a year ago.
The storm’s devastation “is going to keep prices from softening as much as they otherwise would have,” Kontos says.
No matter how much prices are raised by Sandy, at least the impact will be temporary, says Tom Webb, chief economist for Manheim Consulting.
And the vehicle impact isn’t as bad as from Hurricane Katrina, which flooded New Orleans and the Gulf Coast in 2005.
At Paragon Honda, Benstock says many buyers are using their insurance checks as down payments on new vehicles, instead of buying used. “A lot are finding they can get into a new vehicle for less” than they expected, he says.
But there are fewer new models on hand.
For instance, Toyota says it lost up to 4,000 new vehicles awaiting shipments to dealers.
Ford says it lost 800 new vehicles in inventory.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.