December 18, 2006
LOS ANGELES — Mazda North American Operations will scrap all 4,703 vehicles that were aboard the freighter Cougar Ace when it foundered at sea this year.
Previously, Mazda stated it would have engineers evaluate all the vehicles to determine which to scrap or to sell through a used-car program. However, given that the provenance of the vehicles might come into doubt in several years’ time, Mazda decided to avoid a potential customer-satisfaction nightmare by scrapping all the vehicles.
The Cougar Ace went into a 60-degree list on its trans-Pacific run in July when its ballast was displaced, but the ship was towed into port and righted. Some of the cargo was under water. Other cars were dry, held in place by their mounts, and showed little visible sign of damage.
"We just couldn’t take the risk of there being unforeseen issues down the road," said Mazda spokesman Jeremy Barnes.
"There were two camps of potential buyers. One was, ‘Where can I get one cheap?’ The others were worried they might get one by accident and weren’t going to shop Mazda as a result."
The tally of lost vehicles was 2,475 Mazda3 sedans, 329 Mazda3 five-doors, 56 Mazda5 minivans, 1,329 CX-7 crossovers, 214 RX-8 sports cars, 5 MazdaSpeed6 sedans and 295 MX-5 Miata convertibles.
Although maritime insurance is a relatively convoluted process, the main insurer of the cargo was industry conglomerate ACE Ltd., based in Hamilton, Bermuda.