Mazda Disposes of $100 Million Worth of Cars

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What do you do with more than 4,000 cars that you can neither sell nor safely give away?

This was the conundrum facing Mazda after a cargo ship called the Cougar Ace tilted at a severe angle before being rescued by a remarkable salvage operation.

Mazda couldn’t tell if the vehicles had been damaged, but the possibility that corrosive fluids had harmed the cars was too great a risk. Even donating the cars would have created messy liability issues — say if an airbag failed to deploy or something else went wrong mechanically.

The issue of damaged cars on the market played out recently when, after Hurricane Katrina, hundreds of cars were salvaged from the devastation, slapped with a coat of paint and resold in Latin America, where buyers later found incredible amounts of sand and water damage.

Mazda has decided to build a disassembly line in Portland, Ore., where the cars will be broken down piece by piece. Wheels and CD players will be removed and destroyed, platinum will be yanked from the catalytic converters, and all metal will be crushed, shredded and sent back to Japan for recycling. All told, that’s an estimated $100 million worth of automobiles done in because they spent a few weeks angled incorrectly.

A Crushing Issue: How to Destroy Brand New Cars (Autoweek)

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