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Group 1 Automotive, Inc. (NYSE: GPI) today announced it is assessing damage at 24

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of its East Coast dealerships in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

Preliminary assessments indicate minor water damage at some facilities and the loss of a number of new and used vehicles due to flooding and falling debris. The company is insured and estimates it will incur a $250,000 pre-tax deductible charge for the facilities' damages in the fourth quarter, as well as inventory losses that are estimated to be about $2.0 million based on preliminary assessments.

Business interruptions range from a couple of days in Group 1's Boston-area stores to potentially two weeks in the hardest hit areas of Long Island, N.Y., and northern New Jersey. In total, 24 of Group 1's dealerships were impacted by evacuations prior to the storm and the ongoing power outages and road closures, as well as the impact felt by the surrounding communities as the residents deal with the aftermath of the storm.

The 24 East Coast primarily import-branded dealerships represented 19.4 percent of Group 1's new vehicle unit sales in the third quarter and are located in New Jersey, New York, Maryland, New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

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