NASHVILLE -- A downpour of tennis ball-sized hail around Jackson, Miss., damaged more than 1,000 new vehicles at local dealerships as well as new Nissan vehicles in transit from its nearby assembly plant.
Insurance adjusters are reviewing damage on individual vehicles; a spokesman for Nissan North America in Nashville said "several hundred" Nissan vehicles were damaged but did not give a final number.
The spokesman said the storm damage, which occurred this week over a 17-county area of the state, involved various models built at Nissan's nearby plant in Canton, Miss. He said it would not affect dealer availability.
Canton produces the Altima, Sentra, Titan, Armada, Frontier, Xterra, and the full-sized NV commercial van series.
The hail pummeled vehicles sitting in transit in Jackson but not Nissan's newly built vehicles parked several miles away at the Canton factory yards.
The storm also ruined inventories at several dealerships, including about 1,000 at Jackson's Herrin-Gear Autoplex, which sells Chevrolet, Lexus, BMW and Infiniti vehicles.
Across the street at Paul Moak Honda, dealer Paul Moak said as many as 270 of his new Hondas, Volvos and Subarus, as well as part of his used-car inventory, had been damaged by the large hailstones.
"I've been through hailstorms before, but I've never seen one like this, Moak said. "It came down for 15 minutes as we stood inside watching. It's going to take months to get all these damaged cars through the system."
Typically, hail-damaged cars provide the basis for advertised discount sales at dealerships. Dealers repair the vehicles as much as possible, replacing smashed windshields and sunroofs and broken trim pieces, and repainting bodies as much as possible.
Manufacturers also make an effort to repair hail-damaged vehicles when possible. But pools of damaged factory-new vehicles sometimes end up at auction.