A 2 a.m. call Thursday from local police warned Alycia Kellum, owner of Don Williamson Nissan in Jacksonville, N.C., of flooding in her dealership's parking lot in the wake of then-Tropical Storm Idalia, which dumped heavy rain in the region after the hurricane pounded Florida last week.
One of Kellum's employees was able to move cars to higher ground, she told Automotive News.
"It was probably up to my employee's knees or so," said Kellum, chairwoman of the North Carolina Automobile Dealers Association.
Numerous dealerships closed their doors Wednesday ahead of Hurricane Idalia blasting Florida's western coast Big Bend area as a Category 3 storm.
Ted Smith, president of the Florida Automobile Dealers Association, said a couple of dealerships took on water damage.
"We were blessed to avoid any real serious damage, due to the onshore entry point being in a sparsely populated area," Smith told Automotive News.
Used-vehicle giant CarMax Inc. on Wednesday closed 11 stores across Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, COO Joe Wilson, said in an email. And AutoNation Inc., which has stores in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, said it moved vehicles and secured buildings where necessary.
Morgan Automotive Group, one of the largest dealership groups in the country with dozens of Florida stores, faced some store power outages.
"We dodged a bullet even in the area where the hurricane hit landfall," Morgan Automotive Chairman Larry Morgan said in an email.
Gail Kachadourian Howe, C.J. Moore and Mark Hollmer contributed to this report.