AutoNation closed its Ford Panama City dealership Monday night to give employees time to prepare for their own personal situations, said Marc Cannon, AutoNation's chief marketing officer. AutoNation has a team on the ground that will be mobilized once the storm passes to begin the re-opening the store and working with the dealership's associates, he said.
Group 1 Automotive Inc. also has stores in the Panama City area. A message was left seeking comment.
So far, the Georgia ports of Savannah, which handles a large amount of imported auto parts, and Brunswick, a major facility for finished vehicles, remain open for business.
Class I railroad CSX notified customers is curtailing operations along the Florida Panhandle and into southeastern Georiga. CSX said shipments traveling between Penscacola, Fla., and Baldwin, Fla., and between Dothan, Ala., and Valdosta, Ga., will experience delays. Rival Norfolk Southern has not announced any changes so far, but did warn that some minimal rerouting of traffic away from storm areas may be required.
AutoNation, of Fort Lauderdale, ranks No. 1 on Automotive News' list of the top 150 dealership groups based in the U.S., with retail sales of 329,116 new vehicles in 2017.
Sonic, of Charlotte, N.C., ranks No. 5 on Automotive News' list of the top 150 dealership groups based in the U.S., retailing 133,728 new vehicles in 2017.
Richmond, Va.-based CarMax ranked No. 1 by volume on Automotive News' list of used-vehicle dealers in the U.S. in 2017.
Eric Kulisch and Hannah Lutz contributed to this report.