The fire onboard the Felicity Ace cargo ship has subsided to the point a salvage crew was able to board the vessel and begin to tow it to a safer location, according to Reuters. That’s the good news. The bad news? The total cost of damage to the nearly 4,000 vehicles on board may be higher than the initial $335 million estimate.
Rough seas and the stubborn fire actually kept salvage crews from getting on board the crispy vessel sooner, which means that the damage had a chance to really take hold.
Automotive News was told by dealers and Volkswagen Group sources that the total damage cost is likely to be far greater than initial estimates:
“We fear that the fire on the ship has damaged a large number of the nearly 4,000 Group-brand vehicles to such an extent that they can no longer be delivered to customers. More detailed information is not yet available,” Volkswagen Group of America wrote to Automotive News. “Brands and dealers have already begun informing their customers and finding individual solutions.”
They also said damage to the vehicles would be covered by insurance.
It’s not clear right now exactly how many of each brand of vehicle are on board the ship, but dealers have told Automotive News nearly half of the 4,000 cars were Audis. The next highest number of cars by brand was Porsche. There were also twice as many Porsches on board as VWs. Reportedly, There were 189 Bentleys and 85 Lamborghinis.
If we do some rough math — and keep in mind I was a journalism major at Penn State and cannot do math — there were about 2,000 Audis, 1,100-ish Porsches, around 550 Volkswagens, 189 Bentleys and 85 Lamborghinis.
Some of those 85 Lambos may end up causing the biggest headaches for VW Group, as a few were end-of-the-run Aventadors. We reported last week that production had ended on the Aventador, and Lamborghini may have to restart production if any of the cars are lost (which they certainly are.)
The Felicity Ace caught fire in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean on February 10th. The fire was made increasingly difficult to put out because many vehicles on board had lithium-ion batteries since they were electric. All 22 crew members were evacuated off the doomed ship without injury.