30 April 2008
A smashing success
In 2006, four thousand-odd Mazdas on the way here from Japan got an unexpected salt-water bath, prompting the company's North American branch to scrap the entire shipment. Turns out that this isn't as easy as it sounds:
"We had to create a disassembly line, basically," says Bob Turbett, the Mazda executive overseeing the destruction process.
It took more than a year to devise a plan that satisfied everyone. The city of Portland [Oregon] wanted assurance that nearly 5,000 cars' worth of antifreeze, brake fluid and other hazardous goop wasn't mishandled. Insurers covering Mazda's losses wanted to be sure the company wouldn't resell any cars or parts thereby profiting on the side. So every steel-alloy wheel has to be sliced, every battery rendered inoperable, and every tire damaged beyond repair. All CD players must get smashed.
Although one part is salvaged before the hammer comes down:
[C]atalytic converters, rich with precious metals like platinum, are removed. Parts like these have a street value of hundreds of dollars apiece.
The crushed remains will be sent back to Japan for recycling.
(Via Autoblog.)Posted at 9:44 AM to Driver's Seat