Tianjin blast brings fallout for multinationals

China might import as many as 60,000 fewer vehicles this year in the wake of last week's deadly explosion at a toxic chemicals warehouse in Tianjin. That figure comes from market watcher IHS, which describes it as a worse-case scenario if imports into the port ground to halt for two months.

In addition, thousands of vehicles that were parked at the port of Tianjin, the busiest in China for the auto industry, were destroyed in the accident.

"Some automakers have started alternative route scheduling for vehicle shipments, while more are likely to do so going forward," IHS said.

The world's most populous country was expected to import 1 million vehicles this year.

Two Toyota Motor (TMC) plants in Tianjin that the Japanese automaker operates in a joint venture with FAW Group will be offline from August 17 through August 19. About 50 Toyota workers in the area were hurt in the accident, according to the company. Toyota produced more than 432,000 vehicles at the plants in 2014, including models such as the Corolla and the Vios, which are the two most directly affected by the blast, according to IHS.

"We are still verifying the details regarding the number of employees injured and the extent of the injuries," according to a Toyota statement. "No employee deaths have been reported."

South Korea's Hyundai Motor estimates that all of its vehicles that were parked at Tianjin were destroyed. The company couldn't provide an exact figure for the damages because access to the accident area has been limited. About 4,000 Hyundai and Kia brand vehicles are located near the explosion site, according to Hyundai.

"All vehicles are covered by insurance, and thus Hyundai Motor is not expected to incur losses arising from this incident," the automaker said in a statement.

More than 2,000 Volkswagens and about 1,500 Renault cars were also damaged in the blast, according to media reports. Officials with both companies couldn't be reached for this story.

According to Ford (F), the employees of its supplier partners in Tianjin weren't hurt in the accident, and most of its vehicles in the area were not damaged.

"We are still assessing the impact on a small population of vehicles located closer to the explosion area," Whitney Eichinger, a spokeswoman for the Dearborn, Mich.-based company, told CBS MoneyWatch in an email.

Roughly 40 percent of the motor vehicles imported into China come through Tianjin, one of the world's busiest ports, which is also used by other multinationals such as Walmart (WMT) and European airplane maker Airbus.

According to media reports, the blast also affected operations at U.S. agricultural equipment maker Deere (DE), which were halted indefinitely after workers were hurt and buildings were damaged. Deere and Airbus couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

Airbus' first assembly line outside of Europe is in Tianjin. Company spokesman Jacques Rocca told the Associated Press that its facility wasn't damaged, but the company would need to wait a few weeks for the port to recover before it could make a final determination.

Walmart is also monitoring the situation in Tianjin and has been supporting relief and rescue efforts, according to Marilee McInnis, a company spokeswoman. "We have limited shipping from Tianjin," she wrote in an email to CBS MoneyWatch. "Our only issue currently is traffic congestion with minor delivery delays to local stores."

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