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

ZoomCare rolls out new on-demand health clinics

News
Monday, March 02, 2015
zoomcarethumbBY KIM MOORE |  OB RESEARCH EDITOR

Portland-based healthcare provider ZoomCare said it plans to “remake American healthcare” by expanding its on-demand urgent care model to emergency, surgery, dental and primary care, among others.


Read more...

4 winners and losers in the Kitzhaber scandal

The Latest
Thursday, February 12, 2015
021315-govorno-thumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Examining the governor's rapid fall from grace in a "bizarre" and "unprecedented" saga.


Read more...

5 schools helping students crack code

The Latest
Thursday, January 29, 2015
codeduthumbnailBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

As the costs of college mount, and as employer demand for software developers soars, coding schools and classes are popping up everywhere.


Read more...

100 Best: The Power of the Worker

March 2015
Wednesday, February 25, 2015
BY KIM MOORE | OB RESEARCH EDITOR
AND AMY MILSHTEIN | OB CONTRIBUTOR

Technology is empowering people like never before and transforming how employees interact in the workplace. How can companies attract and keep staff engaged in this rapidly changing world?


Read more...

2015 100 Best companies announced

The Latest
Friday, February 27, 2015
IMG 0022cneditBY OB STAFF

The 100 Best list recognizes large, medium and small companies for excellence in work environment, management and communications, decision-making and trust, career development and learning, and benefits and compensation.


Read more...

Which Way to Chinatown?

February 2015
Monday, January 26, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN | PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

The Jade International District, already Portland's center of Asian life, is poised for rejuvenation. Where does that leave the westside's historic Chinatown?


Read more...

Closing the Gap: The two Oregons and the way forward

February 2015
Monday, January 26, 2015
BY JOE CORTRIGHT

"Nostalgia is not an economic strategy."


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