It's Estimated At Least 250,000 Cars Were Destroyed By The Storm

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y.  (CBSNewYork) — Business is booming for new and used cars after thousands of vehicles were damaged or destroyed by Superstorm Sandy.

As CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan reported Friday, dealers are finding it hard to keep up with demand.

Jared Siegelman is a Lido Beach firefighter. He is among the many Sandy victims whose cars floated away.

“Everybody’s cars [that] were in the firehouse, lost them. It was intense. [I’m] looking for a Jeep. Five of my firehouse buddies and I are looking to purchase from this location,” Siegelman told CBS 2’s McLogan on Friday.

Tens of thousands of vehicles totaled by Sandy must be replaced. And that is translating into a phenomenal boon for local dealerships.

Sales are on fire along auto alley in Hempstead, where the Smiths from Far Rockaway were hoping to find another 2012 Nissan.

When asked what the insurance company said about her car problems, Nicole Smith said, “It was a loss, total loss.”

But with new car sales business booming, the Smiths and others are finding slim pickings.

“We are about 85 percent up, month over month, and it is tremendous, tremendous. We are trying to do everything we can to help people out, but we are running out of inventory at this point,” said Michael Villani of Garden City Jeep Chrysler Dodge.

Marianne and Rich Belziti were also stressing out while shopping on Friday.

“We had two vehicles that were total loss – a Mercedes and a Highlander,” Rich Belziti said.

“[They] were totally submerged in water in the garage, just gone,” Marianne added.

The Belzitis said they have been housebound in Howard Beach, 400th on a waiting list.

“My Highlander was only a month old, so that was a total replacement. I had ‘gap’ insurance, which picked up the rest. And I had total protection on my car,” Rich Belziti said.

Not everyone had an insurance policy that covered total loss. Some with older model cars received a settlement check that was not large enough to buy a new car.

It’s estimated at least 250,000 vehicles in our area were damaged or destroyed by Sandy.

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