Devastation from Superstorm Sandy may help boost the economy

200K cars damaged, shoppers head to dealerships

After the recent devastation, Superstorm Sandy may be about to give a shot in the arm to the economy.

Look for a surge in November auto sales when the numbers are released this week.

A lot of buyers in the Northeast and Midwest who postponed buying a new car because of Sandy went back to showrooms last month.

Then there is the effect of destroyed and damaged cars, and those purchases could lead to the best month for auto sales in nearly five years.

The National Crime Insurance Bureau estimates that well over 200,000 cars were damaged by Sandy, and many of them are being replaced.

Analysts estimate last month’s vehicle sales could be above an annual rate of 15 million. That would be well over 10 percent up on November of last year.

Sandy caused enormous destruction and suffering, especially in the coastal regions of New York and New Jersey.

“This is a very perverse thing that happens,” economist Diane Swonk tells ABC News Radio. “We have an extraordinary storm like this that hits such a populated area. It does make a dent in economic activity but then subsequently there is a stimulative effect.”

This will not only boost auto sales.

“People are making lots of repairs, replacing carpeting, appliances, furniture that was ruined in the storm. This is going to enhance what looks like a housing related recovery.”