Midwest Dealerships Turn Hail Into Sales | Edmunds

Midwest Dealerships Turn Hail Into Sales


Just the Facts:
  • Auto dealers in the Midwest are doing their best to cope with thousands of vehicles damaged by baseball-sized hail.
  • "This is not a dentless paint-repair situation," Matt Wagner of Dillon Chevrolet in Blair, Nebraska, told Edmunds. "All of them will require conventional body work."
  • The Woodhouse Auto Family, with a dozen locations in Nebraska and Iowa, had more than 4,300 vehicles damaged at a total estimated cost of $162 million.

BLAIR, Nebraska — When a series of epic storms pummeled several Midwestern states recently, auto dealerships were faced with the challenge of coping with thousands of vehicles damaged by baseball-sized hail.

At Sid Dillon Chevrolet in Blair, Nebraska, about 30 miles from Omaha, ice chunks shattered windshields and other glass, smashed taillights and left dents in about 800 vehicles.

Dillon Sales Manager Matt Wagner told Edmunds: "We're doing our best with it. There were six appraisers from the insurance company on site, assessing damage and determining which vehicles are roadworthy."

The ones that are unsafe will be totaled, but others are being sold at a considerable discount.

The amount of discount is "all over the place," Wagner said, depending on the degree of damage. He said Dillon's largest price reduction was around $22,000 on two vehicles but noted that those were extreme cases. Still, even an average discount could mean considerable savings over the sticker price.

Wagner did note, however, that although the damage is primarily cosmetic, it's not minimal.

"This is not a dentless paint repair situation," he said. "All of them will require conventional body work."

That work can be arranged by Sid Dillon Chevrolet or at the customer's choice of repair shops after delivery.

The Woodhouse Auto Family, which represents more than 30 brands at a dozen locations in Nebraska and Iowa, was hit particularly hard, with more than 4,300 vehicles damaged at a total estimated cost of $162 million.

Immediately after the storm, Woodhouse posted on its Facebook page: "Looks like we will be having a hail sale! More to come tomorrow!"

Response from customers was so great that two days later Woodhouse posted: "We will not be giving pricing for any vehicles over the phone or Web because of the amount of vehicles that were damaged."

Woodhouse asked interested customers to visit its dealerships in person, adding: "Please know that we are not trying to upset people or be rude, we are just managing the best we can. Our people are working 16 hours a day. I am not for sure how much more we can do."

Peak Kia near Denver, Colorado, was hit by hailstorm around this time last year, so when this year's deluge struck, the dealership was prepared. Peak quickly posted a video on YouTube showing some of the storm damage and on its Web site invited customers to check out its inventory, with prices "starting at $9,988" for a 2014 Kia Rio LX.

The hail damaged about 425 of Peak's vehicles, at an average estimated cost of $6,000 each.

Edmunds says: Dealerships in the storm-stricken area are saying "Hail, no!" to ice damage.

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