De nasleep van zware hagelbui gaat door in South Canterburydecember 29, 2019
Norfolk Motors Ltd have turned cars on their lot around, writing ‘offers’ on their rare windows.
The Chamber of Commerce is encouraging South Canterbury residents to keep shopping “local” and help businesses stay afloat as the aftermath of a severe hailstorm continues.
Thousands of vehicles in Timaru are thought to have been damaged when large, golf-sized hail stones pelted the town on November 20, denting them and punching holes in trees and spouting.
South Canterbury Chamber of Commerce chief executive Wendy Smith said she had noticed Christchurch car dealers advertising in Timaru since the storm, but encouraged people in need of a new vehicle to approach “local” businesses before looking elsewhere.
“I’m sure any of the car dealers here, even if they don’t have vehicles out front, will be able to source that vehicle at the same price,” Smith said.
“It’s absolutely vital when situations like this occur that we buy local. It boosts the Timaru economy by five to eight times.”
Smith said the hail had an “adverse effect” on many businesses in Timaru, especially those close to the CBD.
“The vast majority are back up and running but a number are still closed.”
Access Autos sales manager Darcy Campbell said the car dealership has had to promote its wares as being free of damage after business dried up in the wake of the storm – and they’re not the only ones mentioning the freak weather in their advertising.
John Shelton Motors is holding a “hail damage special”, Norfolk Motors Ltd have turned their cars around and written “offers” on the window, and the Green Leaf Plant Centre has “40 to 60 per cent off hail-damaged items” to clear out stock, according to recent advertisements.
Campbell said very few people had come to the Hilton Highway premises in the week after the hail struck, under the assumption every car dealer in town had a yard full of damaged cars.
“We sympathise with the other yards and how it’s affected them,” Campbell said.
“The reason we put out the ad was not to take advantage of the situation. We’re just making people aware we didn’t get hail damage, which was very lucky.”
The hail missed the car yard when it began falling, giving staff time to shift 65 vehicles into a nearby building before the wind shifted.
“In the end, the hail that came down here was very minor.”
While none of the yard’s cars had been damaged, the hail still had an impact on the business.
“We found for the first week, it was like a ghost town here. That’s why we felt we needed to put something in the ad to say, ‘Don’t be afraid to come down.'”
A John Shelton Motors spokesman said the car dealership was “definitely one of the lucky ones” because it had a number of newly-imported cars ready to come down from Christchurch when the hail hit.
“We’re keeping going and we’ve got stock coming in daily from now on,” he said.
Three vehicles had since been sold online as part of a “hail damage special” with more to be advertised in the next few days.
He said the car dealership had been offering “a lot of pre-accident valuations” of cars since the hail, so people would understand how much their car was worth when going to insurance companies.
“They [insurance companies] are opting to pay them out so it’s putting a lot of people in the market,” he said.
“We’re encouraging people that live in Timaru, to buy in Timaru. It’s vital that nobody goes out of business from this.”
HVS Motors Timaru owner Hamish Gardyne told Stuff on November 21 the hail caused $1.5 million in damage to 173 of his cars.
Insurance Council of New Zealand communications manager Leah McNeil said figures for how many insurance claims had been made as a result of the hail would not be available for six weeks, until after the New Year.
Norfolk Motors Ltd and Green Leaf Plant Centre were approached for comment but declined.