Oregon's auto import business crashes

| Print |  Email
Articles - April 2010
Thursday, March 25, 2010
importillo
importnumbers
ILLUSTRATION BY MARTIN GEE

Oregon’s once-booming auto import business, already limping along at half speed after two years of recession, has crashed into another speed bump with the Toyota recall debacle.

The Port of Portland is the largest auto importer on the West Coast, but volume has plummeted from 463,557 vehicles in 2006 to 240,683 in 2009.

According to port studies, each car that is brought into the U.S. through Portland generates a regional economic impact of $318. By that measure, the economic benefits of auto imports to the region have fallen by an annual $70.8 million from their recent peak. And that was before Toyota got caught up in controversy and saw sales slip to 10-year lows amid safety problems and massive recalls.

Toyota is one of three major auto importers using Portland as a gateway into the U.S. market, along with Honda and Hyundai, and it is a key tenant at the port’s sprawling 280-acre Terminal Four complex near the St. Johns Bridge in North Portland. The union longshoremen and Teamsters who unload auto vessels there rely on a steady flow of cars for their income, as do the employees of Toyota Logistics Services, who add accessories such as navigation, music and security systems to the vehicles before shipping them to market via rail or truck. The port is somewhat sheltered from the drop-off because it receives guaranteed minimum payments regardless of volume.

Port spokesman Josh Thomas says it’s too early to identify a drop in Toyota imports specifically related to the recalls and the associated bad press. “We wouldn’t want to speculate on that,” he says, adding that Toyota has been a “model tenant” that earned LEED gold certification for green building practices and invested in riverbank restoration to improve salmon habitat.

The general manager for Toyota Logistics Services did not respond to requests for comment. Neither did the head of the local chapter of the International Longshore Workers Union. But with sales slipping and safety concerns spreading, it would be hard to make the case that Toyota’s troubles won’t cost Oregon both business and jobs. 

BEN JACKLET
 

More Articles

Taking the lead in boosting Oregonians’ health and strengthening our economy

Contributed Blogs
Thursday, January 08, 2015
0108-injection-thumbBY CAMBIA HEALTH SOLUTIONS & OREGON BUSINESS COUNCIL | OP-ED

Businesses have a significant stake in the health of Oregonians. In fact, we cannot succeed without it. By committing to using our companies as levers for good health, we invest in our people, our business, our quality of life and our economy. 


Read more...

Imperial Palate

February 2015
Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Power Lunch at the Imperial.


Read more...

Editor's Letter: Tortoise and the Hare

February 2015
Monday, January 26, 2015

The day after this issue goes to press, the city of Medford will host its annual business conference. The event features Minoli Ratnatunga, co-author of the Milken Institute’s annual “Best-Performing Cities” report. Preliminary data suggests that Medford is likely to retain its No. 1 ranking among best-performing small cities for having a higher concentration of high-tech firms than the national average. 


Read more...

A legislative preview — and celebration

News
Friday, January 23, 2015
012315-speaker-thumbBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

The Northwest Environmental Business Council previews the 2015 legislative agenda as Hatch Oregon celebrates Oregon's new community crowdfunding rules.


Read more...

5 companies react to lower fuel prices

The Latest
Thursday, January 15, 2015
thumb-shutterstock 233787049BY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Consumers love the savings they get from low oil prices, but how has business been affected?


Read more...

Legislative Preview: A Shifting Balance

January-Powerbook 2015
Thursday, December 11, 2014
BY APRIL STREETER

Democratic gains pave the way for a revival of environment and labor bills as revenue reform languishes.


Read more...

Political theater

News
Wednesday, January 07, 2015
0107-orbizplansum14-thumbBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

The Oregon Business Plan Leadership Summit drew more than 1,000 people to the Oregon Convention Center yesterday.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS