After hail stopped smashing down on Canberra's cars last month, one of the first local businesses to be inundated with calls was Carways.
"We've been involved in transporting cars as a result of weather events elsewhere, but this has certainly been the busiest three weeks we've experienced from a Canberra perspective," Carways' managing director Scott Brown said.
"The calls started within a few hours and they just kept on coming."
Carways is a specialist Canberra car-carrying business with a national network. When the freak January 20 weather event pummelled thousands of ACT cars with what one salvage expert described as the most ferocious hail he'd ever seen, Carways was one of the first called to assist.
The company has a huge salvage yard in Mitchell, which holds over 500 salvaged cars for the giant Sydney-based Manheim auction group.
"Our busy period had started with the bushfires on the South Coast around Christmas and New Year, bringing cars back here to Canberra which had been fire-damaged," Mr Brown said.
"But then when the emergency calls came in just after the hailstorm, we had to divert resources to cope and bring in trucks from all over. It's been flat out ever since.
"The first thing was to get all the undriveable cars out of the carparks, mostly around Belconnen, Acton and the Parliamentary triangle. A lot of these cars had broken glass so they were not secure.
"Then there was the assessment component; moving the damaged cars which couldn't be driven to and from the assessment centres.
"And the other element has been trucking new and used cars into Canberra from interstate. Because such a large number of cars were badly damaged and written off, people who live here and work here are in the market for a replacement pretty much straight away."
New car sales have been in steep decline across Australia for more than two years so when a lot of cashed-up potential buyers return in droves to a relatively small market like the ACT, local dealers have been scrambling to have the product on their lots and ready for sale.
Pre-delivery operations around the ACT have been at maximum capacity and working weekends to process the sold vehicles. The output is certain to create a discernible spike in Canberra's sales numbers compared with previous results.
Last year's national new car market was 7.8 per cent down on 2018. The ACT was one of the hardest hit, down 11.7 per cent.
In January, a culmination of holidays, bushfires, road closures and weather events took an even bigger toll on sales, with the ACT diving 14 per cent while nationally, the market was down 12.5 per cent. February is expected to see improvement.
As the specialist mass assessment centres across Canberra are writing cars off and Carways is trucking them offsite to Majura to feature in online auctions, local dealers are endeavouring to make the most of an unusual opportunity.
John McGrath, which runs the Fyshwick Mercedes-Benz dealership together with a number of other franchises, lost over 200 cars to hail in the January storm.
"Most of the Mercedes cars exposed to the storm had to be written off because of the cost of repair," Mr McGrath said.
"On many of these cars, the major panels are alloy so they would have to be replaced and repainted plus there is a lot of technology, such as protection measures for pedestrians, built into the bodyshell."
He said he was in the fortunate position of having several yards for used cars across several suburbs so he was able to shuffle damaged vehicles out of the affected yards and bring cars from unaffected yards into to replace them.
"It was awful to see so much damage but at least our vehicle losses we were covered by insurance," Mr McGrath said.
"It has created business in the short term but we know that our insurance premiums will take a huge hit down the track."