By now you’ve probably seen footage of the horrific explosions that devastated the Chinese port of Tianjin in the early hours of Thursday morning, killing at least 50 people and injuring more than 700.
Besides the irreparable human damage, the explosions also caused significant losses to carmakers, as the port of Tianjin is one of China’s main entry points for imported cars. Thousands of vehicles from at least four automakers were destroyed by the explosions.
Reports from Chinese media say nearly 2,750 vehicles were Volkswagens, as one of VW’s warehouse was located close to the site of the explosions.
The automaker said it did not yet have an official estimate of how many vehicles were destroyed. Volkswagen added that it will make deliveries via ports in Shanghai and Guangzhou while the Tianjin port is out of service and it is assessing the damage.
Other reports say about 4,000 Hyundai and Kia vehicles were destroyed by the blast (mostly expensive models), as well as some 1,500 Renaults. The damaged Renault vehicles have an estimated retail value of at least 210 million yuan ($33 million). The cars were in a warehouse, which caught fire and suffered severe damage, Renault confirmed.
Toyota also has lost a number of vehicles in the explosion, but the extent of the damage is not yet clear, the company said. US automakers haven’t reported damages so far.
The explosion at a factory in Tianjin, which left a mushroom cloud, devastated huge areas of the city’s port, which is the 10th largest in the world. Tianjin is also one of China’s biggest automobile shipping ports, handling vehicles destined for the northern parts of the country.
Imported cars are usually stored at the port before being sent off to various parts of the country. Tianjin is a city of more than 15 million people, located about 75 miles (120 km) from Beijing.
Scroll down to watch videos showing the colossal magnitude of the explosions and their aftermath.
Story references: Automotive News