Hurricane Florence closed out the week by hitting the Carolina coast as a Category 1 storm, down from its Cat 4-5 status when it was far out to sea. As a result of the storm’s weakening and the relatively low population density, the effect on vehicle damage is nowhere near what it was when Hurricane Harvey flooded Houston a year ago where somewhere north of 300,000 vehicles were destroyed.
According to Jonathan Smoke, chief economist for KBB parent Cox Automotive, “Vehicle density in current path, thankfully, is about half that of Houston. The broad possible impact path of Hurricane Florence from Savannah to Norfolk encompasses a population of 10.2 million people and 3.9 million households. Thankfully this is not as densely populated as some coastal regions. The broad area has a population density less than half that of Houston or the state of Florida, which were impacted by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma last year.”
Dealerships throughout the affected area have closed to ride out the weather and have taken steps to protect the vehicles they have in stock. Matt Thurston, operations manager at East Caroline Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram-Fiat in Greenville, N.C. told Automotive News, “The main thing is making sure that all the inventory is placed in a position that is not prone to flooding, as we’ve been in constant contact with customers whose vehicles have been in the shop — whether it’s our service department or body shop — that have been completed in order for them to come pick their vehicles up.”
It’s expected that the market should quickly rebound and may grow some as buyers look to replace storm-damaged vehicles. Worst case scenarios estimate a vehicle loss between 20,000 and 40,000 units.
Porsche drive before you buy
Still on the fence on whether to reward yourself with a brand-new Porsche? The German make has come up with two pilot programs that will allow you to sample their products before signing on the dotted line. Called Porsche Drive and Porsche Host, the plans provide short-term on-demand access to Porsche vehicles and will be launched on the East and West Coasts.
Following its monthly Porsche Passport subscription plan, the Porsche Drive program offers a wide range of Porsche vehicles for rental periods as short as a few hours up to a week. Powered by Cox Automotive’s Clutch Technologies, Porsche Drive features white-glove concierge delivery service of the vehicle within two hours of a confirmed reservation in the metro Atlanta area. Vehicles can be rented hourly (with a 4-hour minimum) and daily up to a week. All six Porsche model lines—Boxster, Cayman, 911, Panamera, Macan and Cayenne—are available for rent. Prices range from $269, plus taxes and fees, for four hours in a Macan, Boxster or Cayman and up to $2,900, plus taxes and fees, for a week’s rental of a 911.
The second program, Porsche Host, is a peer-to-peer pilot developed by Porsche Digital with car-sharing provider Turo. Set to launch Oct. 8 in San Francisco and Los Angeles, the privately- owned vehicles will be available for share by booking a Porsche through the Turo app or website. These rentals are for periods ranging from one day to a month or longer.
“We want to offer a choice in how people experience the thrill of driving a Porsche,” said Klaus Zellmer, president and CEO of Porsche Cars North America. “Our market research shows that consumers want options across a spectrum from access to ownership. The Porsche Drive and Porsche Host pilots are exciting, non-traditional ways to let customers choose how they get behind the wheel of a Porsche.”
Deals of the month
The calendar is about to click over to a new model year beginning Oct. 1 and the cash back deals are heating up on remaining 2018 and even some 2017 models still left in stock. And there’s also a number of attractive leases available on crossover SUVs, a segment that is becoming more crowded by the day.
If you’re looking for a big rebate, you might consider stepping up to a 2018 Ford Escape, which is carrying $4,000 cash back. Also, in the compact crossover SUV category, the 2018 Jeep Compass has a generous $3,750 offer on it, which will make a considerable dent in its Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price (FPP) of $23,847. Kia has a $3,500 rebate on its midsize 2018 Optima sedan in a market that hasn’t been kind to traditional family cars. Nissan is offering just $500 back on 2018 Rogue compact SUVs but is also sweetening the deal with 0-percent financing. The big bucks, however, are on the Ford Focus, that is if you can find a 2017 model. Ford has $4,500 cash back on this Euro-inspired hatchback which carries a Kelley FPP of just $17,471. Ford has announced that it is killing most of its car lineup including Focus, Fusion and the full-size Taurus.
On the leasing side of the ledger, Acura has a redesigned ILX for 2019, but you can find 2018 Acura ILX sedans available for just $199 per month on a 3-year deal requiring $2,499 up front. Toyota is set to launch an all-new 2019 RAV4 while it is looking to clear out 2018 models with a $229 per month 3-year lease with just $1,999 down. Chevrolet is asking for a rather hefty $4,059 up front payment on its 2018 Equinox crossover with its $189 per month lease for 39 months. Sister division Cadillac has 2018 ATS models available for a 27-month lease at $299 with $1,839 due at signing. Meanwhile, Hyundai’s all-new 2019 Veloster sport coupe has a $199 per month 3-year lease with $2,299 due up front.
2019 Nissan Rogue Priced
Nissan has announced pricing and product upgrades for the 2019 Rogue crossover SUV. It has held pricing at $24,800 for the Rogue S front-drive model. The front-drive SV models will start at $26,220 and the top line SL front-drive model begins at $31,390. All-wheel models start at $26,150 for the S, $27,570 for the SV and $32,740 for the SL. All prices exclude $995 delivery.
Rogue Hybrid also returns in 2019 starting at $26,700 for the SV front-drive trim level and $31,540 for the SL, also in front-drive. All-wheel drive versions are $1,350 more. The company is also offering Nissan Safety Shield 360 which includes six active safety and driver assist features as standard equipment on SV and SL trims.
Considering the donation of your old car to charity? If you use the new donate option here at Kelley Blue Book through Sept. 30, we’ll give an extra $100 to St. Jude’s Hospital. Details here.
GMC has weighed in with its all-new half-ton pickup truck. We get behind the wheel of the 2019 GMC Sierra Denali in this First Review.
Volkswagen is saying good bye to its venerable Beetle. It is sending off this iconic model with the 2019 VW Beetle Final Edition.
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