After reaching out to more than 100 brokers, dealerships, importers, trade centers and unions over the last four months, inewsource finally received clearance to do something we’ve been told is unprecedented: track a shipment of a car from start to finish — from the manufacturing plant in Germany to the customer’s door near Las Vegas.
You may not think of this as a huge accomplishment, but in the hyper-competitive world of international shipping, the logistics of private companies are a closely guarded secret. How long a shipment takes, what carriers are used, which route is taken — every piece of information is proprietary and not readily released to the public.
This particular shipment — a Volkswagen Golf R — is a special order placed by Robert Malthouse, a VW technician in Henderson, Nev., about ten miles southeast of the Las Vegas strip. Malthouse has been waiting since January for the “rising blue” colored Golf, released only every four years and no longer available after this month. It was unloaded on June 20, 2012 into the Port of San Diego, after completing a route from Emden, Germany, through the Panama Canal, and up the coast of Central America.
In the following days, we’ll use this car to show you — through photos, videos, and text — how Volkswagens, Audis, Porsches and others make their way into this country and land at dealerships, like the one in Henderson. The trip will be the foundation for a deeper story on the ripple effects of international shipping and how one commodity (a car) can affect millions of jobs and billions of dollars throughout the US — including the effect on shipping companies, longshore workers, trucking corporations, the railroad industry, and many more.
We promise you an enlightening journey. Stay with us.