The Gulf Coast, battered by Hurricane Katrina in late August, is showing signs of recovery.
Ford Motor Co.'s Memphis region, which includes New Orleans, is the hottest sales region in the country, sales chief Steve Lyons said.
The reason: Katrina, Lyons said.
"Demand for vehicles down there is huge. Sales are probably 20 percent higher than normal," he said.
Many of Ford's sales in the region are commercial vehicles because of demand from relief and rebuilding agencies. Consumer demand, he said, will follow.