Five years after Katrina, Gulf Coast dealers will take another hit

Edward Lapham is executive editor of Automotive News
Lost in all the news coverage of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has been any mention of the effect on car dealers.

You can expect dealerships will feel the pinch when local businesses -- and consumers -- scale back their purchases.

Sure, there might be a slight uptick in orders to replace vehicles damaged by the petroleum. But most people probably had plenty of time to find a place to park other than on the beach.

Five years ago, dozens -- maybe hundreds -- of dealerships were damaged by the gale forces of Hurricane Katrina. This time it could take longer for the effects to hit home.

But hit they will.