After a disastrous November, the massive sales slide is hitting import automakers hard. Reuters reports that Toyota and Mercedes-Benz have each leased more than twenty acres in Long Beach, California, to store new cars being imported from overseas. The Toyota and Mercedes-Benz vehicles are being stored on a future container terminal's construction site.
Nissan had also been seeking to lease space to store vehicles in Long Beach, but talks fell through. Instead, Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics, the company that operates the terminal where Nissan's vehicles are imported, shifted vehicle storage to another state. Other ports, including the San Diego port which brings in Honda, Volkswagen and Mitsubishi vehicles, also have more inventory sitting on their property than is normal. The San Diego port has about 14,000 cars on its property-2,000 more vehicles than usual.
According to spokesman Mike Goss, "unacceptably high" inventory levels for Toyota were approaching a 90-day supply. Although that level is double what it was last year, it is still considerably less than GM, Ford and Chrysler levels, which average about a 115-day supply.
Vehicles being stored at the Long Beach port include 2009 Toyota Prius hybrids and 2009 Lexus IS luxury sedans.