The Ebb and Flow of Natural Disasters and Car Sales

U.S. auto sales are roaring right now, helped along by the need to replace an estimated 230,000 vehicles damaged by Hurricane Sandy. The sales pace hit a nearly five-year high in November, an annualized 15.5 million cars and trucks, according to Autodata. Some of the biggest gains last month were recorded by Honda, Toyota, and Nissan, which are still bouncing back from Japan’s own natural disaster: the March 2011 tsunami that killed 20,000 people and severely disrupted the country’s delicate auto-supply chain. As seen here, the Japanese share of U.S. sales plummeted immediately following that disaster and has been climbing back ever since.

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