Half a million cars could be destroyed by Harvey

HOUSTON — Up to 500,000 Houston cars may be destroyed by Hurricane Harvey.

Analysis by Cox Automotive, which includes Kelley Blue Book and other brands, found that between 300,000 and 500,000 vehicles in Houston could be lost to the storm.

Jonathan Smoke, chief economist from Cox Automotive, said that estimate is based on how many cars were destroyed by Superstorm Sandy in 2012 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005, as well as reports of damage done by Harvey in Houston so far.

About 250,000 cars were destroyed when Sandy hit the East Coast, Smoke said. Car ownership is higher in Houston than New York, which could help explain why the number of cars destroyed by Harvey may be so much higher.

Smoke said it would be “sobering” if Houston lost more than 300,000 cars given that the Houston area has seen 325,000 new vehicle sales in the last 12 months.

Smoke explained that while demand for cars typically drops during the month of a hurricane, it spikes shortly after and causes prices to increase.

Analytics firm CoreLogic estimated that Harvey could cause up $40 billion worth of damage in Texas.


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