Hurricane Charley delivered a major blow to Florida automobile dealerships and auto auctions in the center of the state from the west coast to the east.
Even dealerships that suffered little damage to their buildings or vehicles could not open Monday because they did not have power and phone service.
Some parts of Florida may be without power for as much as two weeks.
"We're in the process of trying to assess the damage," Ted Smith, president of the Florida Automobile Dealers Association, said Monday.
Smith said teams of insurance underwriters were on the ground visiting dealerships in the six counties hit hardest by Friday's hurricane. Smith said the underwriters were already cutting checks to help dealers get back in business.
Hurricane Charley came ashore with 145 mph winds late Friday afternoon near Punta Gorda, about 100 miles south of Tampa. Even though the storm strengthened and took a last minute turn, some dealers had time to prepare at least a little.
GM spokesman Gus Buenz, who lives near where the hurricane came ashore, said he saw dealerships with cars backed up against plate glass windows. Some dealers, he said, took down awnings.
But for dealers in the path of the storm, such as Marlow-Werner Pontiac-Buick-GMC Truck Inc., Punta Gorda, there was nothing anyone could do except wait out the storm and hope for as little damage as possible. The dealership employs 51 people and had sales last year of about 960 new and used vehicles.
"Everyone we've heard from so far is OK," said George Warner, dealership owner.
"We had a brief meeting Monday morning to meet with management staff. We're focusing on how to get the dealership restored and back up where we can begin to do business," said Werner.
He predicted it would be months before everything returned to the way it was before the storm.
Werner said 70 percent of his inventory sustained heavy damage. "A lot of glass was blown out of windows. There's damage from flying debris, and water damage from rain that got inside the cars."
He said the area General Motors Acceptance Corp. zone manager had visited the dealership early Monday to help assess damage and offer assistance. The dealership itself was a mess, Werner said. "We can see where some large structural beams in the showroom snapped.
The GM satellite dish blew off the roof and was lying in the street.
In Orlando, many dealerships suffered extensive damage to signs, buildings and inventory. McNamara Pontiac in downtown Orlando lost several portions of its roof, two signs and had dozens of vehicles with paint and body damage, said dealership owner Hal McNamara.
Just outside of Orlando, the damage to Holiday-Chevrolet-Oldsmobile also was extensive. Dealer Alan Starling said traffic lights near his dealership were blown off their wires, trees, signs, debris and other heavy items landed at the dealership. "We have a lot of damage. We're sizing up where we are today, Starling said early Monday. "The toughest thing is the lack of news, electricity and phones," Starling said by cell phone.