After the storm, finding the good in a bad situation
The auto industry is only beginning to tally its share of the damage caused by last week's terrible hurricane, which wreaked havoc and created unbearable situations for people up and down the East Coast.
Along with the rest of society, the auto industry was shaken by Hurricane Sandy -- from flooded dealerships to shipyards filled with damaged vehicles to dealership employees and customers affected by the storm.
In devastation, however, one thing is clear: People in the U.S. auto industry show a remarkable resilience, an ability to shake off disaster and rally together for the common good.
We saw some of that last week in the numerous charitable programs and humanitarian efforts initiated by dealers and automakers.
This is a critical time in the industry. As sales continue to rise, dealership profits increase and incentives remain under control, this is an opportunity for good things to come from a bad situation.
This is a time for automakers to work closely with their franchised dealer partners for the long-term health of their retail network. It is not a time for the factories to make outrageous demands of dealers recovering from the effects of the hurricane.
For dealers, Hurricane Sandy is an opportunity to serve their customers in an appropriate and considerate way. It is a time to connect with those customers, create opportunities and show flexibility.
The health and the recovery of the industry are at stake.
Additionally, federal, state and local governments should work hard to see to it that storm recovery efforts are not blocked by bureaucracy. Dealers, like everyone else, need their communities to return to normal as soon as possible.
In dire times, people in this industry must come together and cooperate.
The storm may be over, but the cleanup is just beginning.