VW, Porsche, Bentley, Audi and Lamborghini dealers begin to sort out the aftermath of Felicity Ace cargo ship fire

The burned hulk of the vacated auto carrier Felicity Ace could be under tow and on its way back again to a European port as early as Wednesday, a lot less than a week right after it caught fire while on its way to produce a load of practically 4,000 Volkswagen Group motor vehicles from their factories in Europe to U.S. dealerships.

Meanwhile, dealerships across the U.S. invested the weekend and the early element of this week assessing their prospective losses and beginning to contact shoppers whose requested automobiles are aboard. Estimates of the reduction from the fire are as higher as $335 million.

The Connected Press claimed Tuesday that flames were no longer visible from the ship, and that a salvage crew hopes to get aboard Wednesday to hook up a tow line and convey the Felicity Ace back to port. Authorities do not nevertheless know the result in of the blaze, but the crew reported that the fireplace had damaged out on a single of the cargo decks where vehicles, which include battery-electric powered cars, have been saved for transportation, the AP noted. Firefighting vessels directed their drinking water cannons to the ship’s hull to amazing it and to continue to keep any runoff from lithium ion batteries from polluting the bordering Atlantic Ocean.

For Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche, Bentley and Lamborghini dealers in the U.S., the fire exacerbates now tight supplies because of the ongoing microchip shortage, and it implies dealers will have to find means to satiate prospects whose requested motor vehicles had been aboard.

Porsche dealer Robert DiStanislao has a shopper-requested Cayenne on the Felicity Ace.

Porsche is supplying sellers day by day updates on the position of the vessel, explained DiStanislao, president of Porsche of the Main Line in suburban Philadelphia.

The potential loss of the Felicity Ace is likely to make an already-complicated stock problem even worse.

“It is likely to trigger us even a lot more shipping and delivery delays because we now have a single considerably less transportation vessel,” DiStanislao stated.

The dealership has reordered a Cayenne for the client, who must acquire it in June, rather of this thirty day period.

But, you can find a silver lining for the consumer, who will acquire an enhance.

Due to the fact of minimal products availability, Porsche Automobiles of the Primary Line experienced to buy a Platinum-version Cayenne.

“The Platinum is much more pricey than the unique get,” DiStanislao said. “But we are keeping the pricing the exact same for the client.”

Like Porsche, practically all Audis — with the exception of the Mexico-made Q5 — are imported to the U.S. from Europe by way of motor vehicle-hauling freighter. Audi of The united states has not publicly disclosed how quite a few of its autos are aboard the Felicity Ace.

Michelle Primm, controlling companion of Cascade Automobile Group in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, which involves Cascade Audi, explained to Automotive News that two of her prospects experienced purchased autos aboard the Felicity Ace — a Q3 and a Q7, equally gasoline-run crossovers. Both of those orders had been “refilled from allocation,” Primm stated, introducing that the buyers recognized what experienced occurred, even though they responded differently: “A single was pretty Alright and just one was [upset].”

At VW, the hardest losses to deal with will be for ID4s, the brand’s compact-crossover EV that went on sale final 12 months. Volkswagen of The united states executives have mentioned that they are even now attempting to satisfy orders positioned in the U.S. for ID4s, which, for correct now, are being produced in Zwickau, Germany. VW’s plant in Chattanooga is expected to start regional salable creation of the ID4 this spring.

Fred Emich IV, standard manager at Emich Volkswagen in Denver, stated his retail store misplaced 5 motor vehicles aboard the ship, together with a few that have been sold orders. Emich explained that the model is “making an attempt to exchange the offered orders” from somewhere else in stock and that the dealership is ready to hear the final results of that lookup before achieving out to the impacted buyers.

A spokeswoman for Bentley of America reported final week that there ended up also 189 of the brand’s bespoke, hand-designed luxury motor vehicles aboard. Bentleys are crafted in Crewe, England, and are transported from Europe with other VW Group motor vehicles.

Induce mysterious

It may be some time before the exact induce of the blaze is recognized. The Felicity Ace was hauling both battery-electric and gasoline-run autos. BEVs are not charged to whole ability at the factory, nor are gasoline-powered vehicles filled up, but equally are fueled sufficiently to permit them to be loaded and unloaded as they are transported between the manufacturing facility and their meant dealerships.

Even just before the advent of EVs, car fires had been an ongoing challenge for automakers for a long time. According to the most modern report in 2020 from the Countrywide Hearth Safety Association, there was an yearly average of 117,370 fires in passenger automobiles in the U.S. each year from 2013 to 2017.

In the course of that identical period, there was an typical of 10 fires aboard oceangoing cargo vessels documented just about every yr. The overall number of car fires per calendar year of all varieties declined steadily from 1980 (456,000) to 2013 (164,000) ahead of beginning to boost again. In 2018, the report mentioned the whole experienced rebounded to 181,500.

Eleanore Beatty

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