Author Topic: Thousands of new cars destroyed  (Read 4267 times)


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Thousands of new cars destroyed
« on: April 29, 2008, 10:10:12 AM »
Has this story crossed people's radar yet?  It's the story of a freighter ship loaded with new Mazda cars, that nearly capsized up near Alaska, and sat anchored in the ocean for months while rescue workers tried to figure out how to keep the ship from completely tipping-over.

A block from where I work there are a series of huge gravel parking lots (I mean, HUGE) surrounded by chain link fences, Port of Portland property, where freighter ships unload cars from Japan and Korea and they're staged on their way to be delivered to car dealers around the NW.  There are hundreds of people whose part-time job is to spend days on end, driving Kias or Hyundais or Hondas or Mazdas off a ship, down a ramp, down an access road to Marine Drive, and into one of these staging lots, where they board shuttle buses to take them back to the freighter to drive another car down to the lot... repeat again and again, for days on end, until the lot is full of new cars.  Then the lot empties out gradually as the car-moving trailers deliver them to dealers.  This cycle happens over and over, throughout the 10 years or so I've been driving to this place.  The Port of Portland is a busy port.

Months ago, I was driving home from work past one of these lots (I work right off Marine Drive, where several of the Port terminals are located) and I noticed a giant forklift picking up new Mazdas and moving them across the lot into metal containers.  I couldn't tell for sure, but it looked like an ordinary forklift, not some kind of delicate car-moving tractor designed to move new cars without damaging them.  But they were placing the cars in the containers sort of carefully, not stacking them or anything, so I couldn't figure it out.

Then I started seeing articles about how all these thousands of cars, though they looked brand new and have never been driven, were being "junked" by Mazda, and were being taken in containers to nearby Schnitzer Steel, which is one of the biggest steel scrapyards and recyclers in the country.  Schnitzer shreds the cars whole, and sells the scrap metal back to Asian countries, where presumably it's made back into cars.

A lot of people are troubled by this story, by the shredding of 5,700 new cars which might have been used for something else.  They might have been donated to charities or churches, or put into government fleets at a reduced price, and I'm sure any of these recipients would have been glad to sign "hold harmless" waivers in case the cars were damaged by their months at sea, in salty air.

This is a really in-depth article about the efforts to "rescue" the capsizing ship.

[ Mike Griffin, Hypnos Recordings ] email mg (at) | |

jim brenholts

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Re: Thousands of new cars destroyed
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2008, 02:53:01 PM »
on the surface it does suck badly. but the exec's explanation makes perfect sense - eventually some of the cars would get into the retail stream and some people would get screwed royally.
many years we had a situation here in pittsburgh where several hundred cars were damaged in a flood. (mostly chevies) they kept popping up despite efforts to track them as "flood cars."
all the best and God bless


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Re: Thousands of new cars destroyed
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2008, 08:26:38 AM »
If you haven't read the Wired article, do. It's fascinating and extremely well-written.
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