NEW YORK - Hurricane Sandy hit the eastern US seaboard and wreaked havoc as it plundered through cities, leaving 8.2-million people without power and at least 48 dead. The estimated damage bill is at the equivalent of about R172-billion. The auto business in the area is taking strain - both manufacturing and retail.General Motors said sales would be affected eventually by the storm as it was forced to close its Maryland transmission plant on October 30, 2012.GM didn't provide an estimate on how badly sales would be affected and said it was still assessing the storm's effect on its dealer network in the affected areas.FORD STILL OKThe American automaker said it wasn't seeing significant delays in its supply base, but its plant in Baltimore, which closed on October 29, 2012, cancelled production on Tuesday. However, the plant was scheduled to resume work on October 30.Ford said it had seen no effect on manufacturing and its plants were operating normally, including a stamping plant in Buffalo, New York. A spokesman said the automaker did not anticipate any issues but was monitoring the situation.A second Ford spokesman said it was reasonable to assume that sales would be affected by the storm but the company had no way to measure by how much.