New Jersey struggles in the storm's aftermath

UPDATED: 11/2/12 3:58 pm ET - adds information from NJCAR

New Jersey is a mess.

Dealerships where I live in northwest New Jersey were all closed yesterday, mainly because the power hasn't been restored. Lines for gas are miles long. Some stations will only fill containers people carry to the pumps.

It's hard to imagine anyone will be out shopping for a vehicle any time soon. Hundreds of us from my city -- and we weren't hit as hard as South Jersey and parts of New York on the water -- are in a middle school using the charging stations and getting warm.

We are waiting for power and the heat and hot water that comes with it, just like many of those who work for New Jersey's 515 new vehicle dealerships and the Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Volvo and Subaru employees affected by the hurricane. Those four companies all have their U.S. headquarters here in New Jersey.

It wasn't clear today how many of the state's dealerships have reopened.

Jim Appleton, president of the New Jersey Coalition of Automotive Retailers, said more than 400 new and used car dealerships were affected by the storm. He estimated two or three dozen dealerships had property damage or were located in inaccessible areas. The worst damage took place in the Meadowlands area, he said.

Eventually, the hundreds of thousands of people whose cars and homes that have been under water will need replacement vehicles. And dealerships will rebuild.

But the lost sales and wages and the millions of dollars that will have to be spent to rebuild dealerships will be staggering. New Orleans did it. I am sure New Jersey can too.

Theresa Clift contributed to this report.

ATTENTION COMMENTERS: Automotive News has monitored a significant increase in the number of personal attacks and abusive comments on our site. We encourage our readers to voice their opinions and argue their points. We expect disagreement. We do not expect our readers to turn on each other. We will be aggressively deleting all comments that personally attack another poster, or an article author, even if the comment is otherwise a well-argued observation. If we see repeated behavior, we will ban the commenter. Please help us maintain a civil level of discourse.

Email Newsletters
  • General newsletters
  • (Weekdays)
  • (Mondays)
  • (As needed)
  • Video newscasts
  • (Weekdays)
  • (Weekdays)
  • (Saturdays)
  • Special interest newsletters
  • (Thursdays)
  • (Tuesdays)
  • (Monthly)
  • (Monthly)
  • (Wednesdays)
  • (Bimonthly)
  • Special reports
  • (As needed)
  • (As needed)
  • Communication preferences
  • You can unsubscribe at any time through links in these emails. For more information, see our Privacy Policy.