With a good portion of the 4000 VW Group cars aboard the stricken Felicity Ace coming from premium brands, it’s safe to expect a lot of them will be exotic models. We already know, for instance, that a Porsche 718 Spyder belonging to motoring journalist and YouTuber Matt Farah is in the hold of the cargo ship, which caught fire last Wednesday and continued to burn into the following week.
A headache though it might be for Porsche to replace any torched 718 Spyders or other vehicles, particularly amid ongoing semi-conductor shortages, it’ll be more straightforward than Lamborghini‘s task of dealing with lost Aventadors.
Lamborghini has dozens of cars on the Felicity Ace, most of which are of the Urus SUV variety. There are also Huracans on board, and yes, a number of Aventadors. Don’t forget, the latter is sold out and production had stopped to make way for a replacement. Speaking to Automotive News, Lamborghini of America CEO Andrea Baldi noted that if any examples of the flagship supercar were damaged, the company would have to approach suppliers to see if rebuilding them is feasible.
“At the moment, we don’t know, and we will have to deal with the problem it will present. The car is sold out, so there is always a possibility out of 563 units that some cancellation can allow an Aventador replacement, but I prefer to hope for the time being that at least the few Aventadors on the ship will be safe.”
Such hope might be overly optimistic. On Monday, shipping claims company WK Webster reported that: “the fire has spread throughout the entire length of the vessel and it appears that everything above the waterline has been burnt”, adding, “vehicles stowed below the waterline will likely also be affected by burning debris from upper decks and fire-fighting water.”
The fire is, at least, largely contained now. On Wednesday, the Portuguese said that there are “no visible fire focal points”. The ship is adrift 195 nautical miles south of the Azorian island of Faial, and while listing slightly, it’s described as “stable” and is not leaking oil. Its original destination was Rhode Island in the US.
US VW Group brand dealers began contacting affected customers earlier this week. Porsche has around 1100 cars on the MOL-operated ship, while Bentley was transporting 189 of its vehicles. As an example of the sort of delays buyers should expect, Automotive News spoke to one dealership that reordered a customer’s Cayenne originally due to arrive this month, with the replacement set to be handed over in June.
For Lamborghini, Andrea Baldi reckons the Felicity Ace fire “could become a six-month delay”. Its position with the Aventador is comparable with that of Porsche a few years ago, which was forced to briefly restart 911 GT2 RS production to replace four examples lost when the Grande America caught fire and sank in the Atlantic. However, at the time, the 991 generation 911 used as a starting point for the GT2 RS was still being produced.