Monday, March 12, 2012

Hit by disaster, Japanese city sees spending soar

(CNN) -- Convertibles are selling well at the Mercedes Benz dealership in Sendai in North Japan.

This seems odd, because Sendai is hardly the kind of place you imagine driving around with the top down. The temperature is in single-digits for five months of the year and it's even colder if you drive towards coast.

Yet Tsutomu Ishihara, the president of Mercedes dealership Yanase Tohoku, says he sold 16 cars in August and September. In fact, most of his models are selling well, with business up 50% over a year ago.

He's hardly alone. In the aftermath the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, business across Sendai is experiencing a reconstruction bounce. Thanks to an influx of construction workers, evacuees and government compensation money, Sendai has become the hub of Japan's recovery economy, the outlier in the midst of struggling coastal towns that are just beginning to rebuild. Read More

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