Flood of hail-damaged cars
13 March 2010
Barry Park, The Age
A very different storm is hitting Melbourne, but this time luxury car dealerships won't fear it. In fact, they're promoting it.
Over the next month, hundreds of hail-damaged luxury cars are expected to flood showrooms and auction houses around Melbourne, with buyers likely to make big savings.
Mercedes-Benz Melbourne dealer principal Craig Howard said his Kings Way dealership would probably hold a sale of hail-damaged vehicles next week after 107 cars and vans were damaged in last weekend's storms.
He said the cars had small dents from the hailstorm that hit hardest on the eastern side of the dealership's outdoor display area last Saturday.
Mr Howard said they would be sold at a discount of up to 20 per cent off their list price and would include an estimate of how much it would cost to have the damage to bonnets, boots and roofs repaired.
''We're still talking to insurance companies because we're not sure yet what the policy covers us for - whether it's just for repair or other things such as a heavy discount on prices,'' he said from post-storm meetings in Sydney yesterday.
''I think that we'll go with the plan of selling the vehicle as it is with a repair bill,'' Mr Howard said. ''The buyers can then decide if they buy the vehicle and repair it themselves, or get us to do it.
''This could bring a few [cars] back into a realistic price range that would attract some customers who would never have considered a Mercedes before.''
Pickles Auctions branch manager Paul Cottrell said hail-damaged cars were likely to start rolling through his auction house over the next three weeks. He said some cars would need only windscreens or wing mirrors replaced to get the vehicle back on the road.
''Dents are ranging through from pinpricks to cricket ball-sized marks,'' he said. ''It doesn't affect the mechanical side of the car, it's just the aesthetics.''