On Monday, with Hurricane Sandy fast approaching, Wards Auto published a report speculating on how the storm might effect the auto industry. In a general sense, it was predicted that plants in or near the storm's path could shut down as a precautionary measure. With Sandy now having made landfall as a superstorm, it appears several production facilities were right in her path.
Two plants in Maryland that most certainly ceased production during the storm were a General Motors powertrain facility that builds heavy duty truck and SUV transmissions, while the other is a Volvo plant that produces Volvo and Mack truck engines. The Swedish concern also has a Mack truck plant in Pennsylvania which is currently experiencing heavy rains and flooding.
Plants located in Virginia and West Virginia are currently being blanketed by heavy snows and more than 128,000 homes are without power. A blizzard warning has been issued in West Virginia, Ohio and Michigan, both home to many automotive production facilities, are also in the midst of heavy snow and rain. It will be unclear just how extensive the impact is on automotive production until the storm and its aftereffects have passed.
Depending on Sandy's path, plants in Ontario, Canada and upstate New York could still be effected, though it is suspected the largest hit on the auto industry could be a drop in sales. The Wards Auto report suggest that October's industry sales could be 200,000 to 300,000 units less than expectations. With the storm still making its way through the Appalachian region and much of the Northeast, only time will tell the true effect on the auto industry.