NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Insurance settlements on flooded out cars are beginning to roll in. Now auto shoppers are out in numbers.
In Deep East Texas impact is dealerships, automobile auction houses and private buyers are competing for inventory. They're all using a "buyer beware" approach when making purchases of previously owned vehicles.
Images of storage lots filled with totaled, flooded out cars should create empathy first. It did in Nacogdoches for General Motors sales manager Chad Watson. Then he couldn't help but turn thoughts to the industry's direct impact.
"Man, start thinking what's going to happen to our market, the car market,"
What happened was a scramble for inventory.
"We had a Hyundai dealership down there actually offer to buy all of our inventory," Watson said.
Previously owned vehicle inventory is also a hot commodity.
Dealerships are driving to Dallas and beyond for good availability of used cars. They're looking for the same thing as consumers are. They don't want any flood-damaged cars.
"Oh yes," said Richard Denum, an auto auction sales manager. "They look at them pretty closely. "
Damaged, uninsured vehicles won't end up on consumer lists, like carfacts.com. Consumers should know the red flags when purchasing a used vehicle following a flood.
"Silt, sand, stuff like that under the carpet," Denum said. "In the trunk same thing. Water lines. Smell. You can tell a flood damaged car."
"You can always look down the seat tracks and see," Watson said. "Seems like there is always some dirt and some stuff that's settled in there when it's been flooded. We pull the seatbelts out all the way because they'll be rolled up you can there is a water line. Obviously, the dash is a big tell-tale sign."
The surge in new and used cars sales is predicted to be short-lived, but the damaged cars can hang around for years.
A boost in U.S. car sales is expected to last at least through November.