Worldwide carmakers have been scrambling late last week to oversee and mitigate the damage from the massive blasts that occurred in China’s Tianjin port, a major entry point for their vehicles in the world’s largest auto market.
Automakers from Germany’s Volkswagen Ag to Japan’s Toyota had to assess the damage caused to autos and facilities by the two major explosions in the port city of Tianjin, China’s biggest auto import hub. The explosions engulfed a warehouse storing volatile chemicals in the northeastern city late on Wednesday and had a force that caused damage to buildings kilometers away, while scientists in the US and Japan registered them as seismic events. France’s second largest automaker, Renault, had around 1,500 cars in a warehouse at the port that has been burned and the Japanese manufacturer Toyota reported the explosions destroyed the windows at the company’s car assembly, logistics, and research buildings, which used in conjunction with China FAW Group Corporation. Fortunately, Toyota’s facilities were unused at the moment due to a week-long summer holiday and no one was injured. Subaru said more than 100 imported cars suffered damage, Volkswagen also reported damaged vehicles without giving a specific number though photos taken at the scene showed numerous cars from the group scorched by the explosions.
Around 40 percent of China’s imported autos pass through Tianjin’s port, which is more than half a million vehicles for 2014, said the official Xinhua news agency. The country’s auto imports were valued at 372.4 billion yuan ($60.8 billion) last year the agency added. The explosions destroyed an industrial zone in the main Tianjin port, with between 54 and 70 fatalities and around 700 injuries.