The Chrysler group has set up an online listing of used vehicles available for purchase by auto dealerships hit by Hurricane Katrina.
If needed, the site also will be open to dealerships damaged by Hurricane Rita, says Peter Grady, Chrysler's remarketing director.
The site offers 1- to 4-year-old used vehicles from DC Direct, Chrysler's online used-vehicle inventory platform. Chrysler is providing transportation assistance and is waiving buyer fees. Grady would not put a dollar amount on the assistance.
He says the site is intended to help dealers replenish used-vehicle inventories quickly and easily. The site was created on Sept. 16 and operates on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
"One guy we know bought eight or 10 vehicles off the site," Grady says. "We know he had the roof blown off his dealership and some windows blown out and some water damage.
"He's operating out of a trailer while the roof is being repaired."
The Web site is accessible through Chrysler group's DealerCONNECT Internet portal. The site goes up at 12:01 a.m. Eastern time on Friday and stays up until 11:59 p.m. Sunday.
On Sept. 23, about 400 vehicles were listed on the site, Grady says.
The sales channel will operate through this month, Grady says. The company then will re-evaluate dealers' inventory needs and decide if the program should be extended.
Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and parts of the Gulf Coast in late August. Rita hit eastern Texas and western Louisiana last month.
Bud Place, the Chrysler group's senior remarketing manager, says about 40 dealers were affected by Hurricane Katrina and are eligible to use the online listing.
Chrysler is studying whether dealerships in coastal areas near the Texas and Louisiana border were affected by Hurricane Rita.
"We don't have a handle on the damage yet," said Grady in an e-mail. "But it does not appear severe."
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