• Sep 11, 2006
Mazda has announced that none of the 4,700+ vehicles aboard the ill-fated cargo ship Cougar Ace will be sold as new vehicles. According to a press release issued by the automaker a short time ago, cars that are damaged beyond repair will be scrapped immediately. Cars that are deemed fixable and saleable, however, could be sold through Mazda's dealer network as used vehicles. Mazda stresses that no decision on saleability will be made until after the full load of vehicles is unloaded and inspected in Portland, OR. Cougar Ace left Alaska under tow on 9/1 and is expected to arrive in Oregon tomorrow.

For its part, Mazda is being completely transparent about this and will publish the complete list of VIN numbers for every vehicle aboard the ship at MazdaUSA.com and their Canadian site, Mazda.ca, As has been stated before, the cargo consists mostly of Mazda3s and Mazda CX-7s.

Cougar Ace suffered a near-catastrophic mishap on July 23 when an error during reballasting at sea sent the vessel into a steep list. She stayed afloat, however, and her crew was rescued. Sadly, an accident on board claimed the life of Marty Johnson, a naval architect working on the salvage team that ultimately righted the ship off the Alaskan coast in late August.

We're pleased to see that Mazda is handling this the right way. Publicizing the VIN list is a great good faith measure, and doing so inoculates them from accusations of trying to pass on damaged goods to customers. In fact, we wonder if the list will actually help them close a few deals along the way (assuming some cars are in repairable condition).

Think about it: given their history, some may view the cars on board as odd collectibles -- reminders of a fascinating and dramatic maritime event. In this case, the VIN list serves as irrefutable proof of the cars' backgrounds.

Still, you won't find us lining up for one if they show up in dealerships. We prefer cars whose trips across the ocean are more boring and uneventful.

(Press release after the jump)

[Source: Mazda]


PRESS RELEASE:

No Mazda Vehicles on Car-Carrying Vessel Cougar Ace will be Sold as New Vehicles

HIROSHIMA, Japan-- Mazda North American Operations (MNAO) today announced that the Mazda vehicles aboard the car-carrying vessel, Cougar Ace, which ran into trouble on July 23, 2006, off the Alaskan coast, resulting in her listing some 60-plus degrees, will not be sold as new vehicles.

"While we do not, at this time, know the full extent of the damage to vehicles on board, none of the Mazdas will be sold as new", said Jim O'Sullivan, president and CEO of MNAO. "Those beyond repair will be immediately scrapped. It is possible that those vehicles which are repairable would be made available for sale as used cars through Mazda's dealer network in the U.S. and Canada. We will only be in a position to decide on any used car sales once the vessel has been unloaded and each unit comprehensively inspected."

"In the interests of transparency and customer peace of mind, we will post a listing of all vehicle identification numbers (VINs) on our consumer Websites, www.MazdaUSA.com and www.mazda.ca so that there is no confusion as to which vehicles were on the ship," stated O'Sullivan.

Slightly more than half of the cars are MAZDA3s and about one-fourth are Mazda CX-7s. The vehicles were headed to the ports of Vancouver (Canada), Tacoma and Hueneme (U.S.).

The Cougar Ace sailed from Japan to North America with just over 4,700 Canadian- and U.S-bound Mazdas aboard. She became stricken when an issue during a routine ballast-water change caused her to list. Thanks to heroic efforts of the U.S. Coast Guard, all 23 crew members were transferred from the ship within hours.

After the ship was stabilized, she was towed by her owners to sheltered waters in Dutch Harbor, Alaska, where she was returned to an even keel. She is currently under tow to the Port of Portland, Ore., where she is expected to arrive on September 12 (the same date in local time). Upon arrival, her cargo will be further evaluated and unloaded.

Headquartered in Irvine, Calif., Mazda North American Operations oversees the sales, marketing, parts and customer service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Operations in Canada are managed by Mazda Canada, Inc., located in Ontario, Canada, and in Mexico by Mazda Motor de Mexico in Mexico City.


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  • 20 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      "We're pleased to see that Mazda is handling this the right way. Publicizing the VIN list is a great good faith measure.."

      - Good faith?? They had no choice, if not made available, the media would have been all over them. Hopefully no dealership will try to push them off as new, and will price accordingly, I think laws on disclosure will depend on state.
      Sounds like a great deal, depending on if it was not submerged and what a dealers "damaged" price will be.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Legally a dealership would have to disclose any repair work that occurs on more than one body panel, or costs over (atleast in NJ) $250 to fix. A new car dealer even has to disclose if there was an accident in a car's history that cost over $1000 to repair. so as far as i see it, these would get fully disclosed no doubt about it. In fact I would presume, based on their already forward approach, that these vehicles would have special pricing labels and that they would be accompanied byt their own special paperwork noting their full-tilt cruise...
      • 8 Years Ago
      yes, they may post the VIN's on their sites ane eventhough many ppl look online to research cars, will the dealerships that receive these repaired cars sold as used inform the customers of the situation around the reasoning. What is this goin to do the actual value of the vehicle and the title to the car?
      • 8 Years Ago
      Kind of interesting too.

      One concern --- corrosion damage. I remember the pre-rusted Honda's from the mid '70s. They charge you $200 for "de-waxing" from the moist trip overseas.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Shounds to me like you would be getting a new car at a used car price. If it is only cosmetic damage, that can be fixed easy enough, but you still get a new engine, running gear, electronic etc.

      I wouldn't mind getting one.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Many could have less repaired damage than some "new" cars bought off dealer lots.
      • 8 Years Ago
      i would like to know if there were any mazda rx 8s?
      • 8 Years Ago
      Um I'd totally be ok with buying a car off that ship.. some of them barely looked damaged at all in the pictures. As long as it is fixed, it's still a "new" car to me (no rust, paint chips, engine wear, carbon build-up, unusual rattles, stains on interior, etc)... so at a used car price that would be an absolute steal.
      • 8 Years Ago
      So... any MazdaSpeed 3s on there???

      Used/New MS3 tempting...
      Greg A.
      • 8 Years Ago
      #10 "Hopefully no dealership will try to push them off as new..."

      A car can't be sold as new without a Monroney sticker, right? Could a dealership have the capability of making its own (presumably illegal) Monroney stickers?
      • 8 Years Ago
      Collectibles? Not likely. They're not like the concept cars that went down with the Andria Doria.

      Depending on the actual damage, however, no doubt some dealers may try to sell these off as "special Mazda sell off" cars or some such scam. And no doubt there are customers out there who will think they're getting a steal: a (very) low mileage used car! And they may get something very serviceable at that, if the damage on that particular car was minimal and well repaired.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I must commend Mazda on their honesty and game plan for the effected vehicles. (Although I dont believe any cars should be scrapped ... used auto part business' should have an opportunity to purchase the vehicles ... remember the VINs will all be posted)

      Im glad the Mazda is not following the direction Chevrolet did when thousands of Chevy Luv trucks were scrapped because they were rusting on the docks.
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