The Felicity Ace is a cargo ship that is midway between Germany and Rhode Island at the moment and it is on fire. Not only is this ship engulfed in flames, but it is also carrying thousands of vehicles that were set for delivery, many of which are already pre-sold to customers at United States dealerships.
In this country for over a year now, there have been massive supply chain issues that have largely impacted the successful automotive industry. Stores in the U.S. are struggling to fulfill customer requests for vehicles due to a total lack of inventory. Therefore, an entire cargo ship of ostensibly useless inventory on its way to the East Coast is devastating news.
The fire seems to have started earlier this week, having just left Germany on February 10, 2022. Speculation says that the fire was caused by hybrid batteries and is currently burning from end to end. Everything above deck is on fire, including the precious cargo that includes over 5,000 different vehicles and 22 crew members. The crew members dove to safety and were subsequently rescued by the Portuguese Navy.
On the Felicity Ace there are over a thousand Porsches, each valued at over $100,000. Porsche’s American representative released a statement regarding the burning inventory, declaring that they have the details regarding what is on the ship at the moment. They have advised customers with concerns to call their local dealerships should they have a vehicle on order.
Obviously, a ship without a crew traversing an ocean is bad news. For this reason, two rescue ships are on their way to assist in the effort of getting the burning ship to shore. However, the original destination of this ship is highly unlikely at this time. More likely than not, these tow ships will reroute to the shore of a nearby country.
Clearly, Porsche dealerships in the United States are going to have some trouble on their hands. Due to microchip shortages and further supply chain issues, many dealerships have taken deposits for vehicles that are in transit. The likelihood of these vehicles having already been promised is fairly high, which means those customers are going to have to wait even longer to receive their vehicles or seek a return of their deposits. What’s more, even if some of the inventory isn’t “on fire,” the smoke and extinguishing efforts will surely ruin the non-fire damaged vehicles. This is likely going to be a total loss.
Another disadvantage for Porsche is that their vehicles are not mass produced to the level of other manufacturers. This means that the inventory now trapped and destroyed on the Felicity Ace will offset the amount of available Porsche vehicles available to customers in the United States.
By now, Porsche has likely notified the dealerships set to receive this inventory and clued them in to the situation. This means U.S. dealerships are going to be fielding calls from customers who were patiently awaiting delivery of their vehicles. It is going to take some serious phone skills to navigate this tricky situation with customers.
Do your salespeople have the skills necessary to assist your customers? With ongoing and dynamic coaching, they sure would. A unique combination of scripts, active coaching, and real reporting allows for proper training and thus dealership staff to better handle customer service with your customers. If you are anticipating being a part of this Porsche crisis, it’s definitely time to deploy active and ongoing coaching on the phones!