The port in Veracruz, Mexico, which ships ten to fifteen thousand vehicles per month, can do little but wait to see how powerful Hurricane Dean is going to get and where it's going to land. Though a port official said some think it might fall to the right of Veracruz, the port has been closed to ships up to 500 tons as of 8 am yesterday local time. The National Hurricane Center believes Dean could reach Category 5 -- that's Katrina strength -- by the time it touches Mexico.

The list of automakers utilizing the port includes VW, Chrysler, Ford, Nissan, Seat, Peugeot, BMW, GM, Renault, Mercedes-Benz, Land Rover, Fiat, Toyota, Volvo, Audi and Jaguar. VW just received a week's worth of engines and parts for its factory in Puebla, which is the closest auto plant to the port. While it might have the equipment, if the port is wrecked, then it and all of the other makers could be in for a lengthy nightmare of disruptions and workarounds. The last Category 5 hurricane to reach Mexico was Wilma in 2005, and the $2.6 billion in damage that it did is still being repaired. Dean is expected to reach Veracruz by the time you read this or later in the morning, local time.

[Source: Auto News, sub req'd]



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