Global automakers including Volkswagen AG and Toyota Motor Corp are scrambling to assess damage to cars and facilities after two massive explosions in the port city of Tianjin, China's largest auto import hub. [Special coverage]
The blasts that ripped through a warehouse storing volatile chemicals in Tianjin late on Wednesday were so strong that they damaged buildings a few kilometers away.
French carmaker Renault SA said nearly 1,500 of its imported cars stored in a warehouse at the port had been burned while Toyota said the blasts broke windows at its car assembly, logistics, and research buildings, which are jointly run with China FAW Group Corp.
Operations at the Toyota facilities had been closed for a week-long summer holiday and no one was injured.
"In our current view, the damage isn't that severe," a China-based Toyota spokesman said.
Roughly 40 percent of cars imported to China pass through Tianjin's port, or more than 500,000 units in 2014, according to the Xinhua News Agency.
China imported 372.4 billion yuan ($60.8 billion) in cars last year, official data shows.
Subaru maker Fuji Heavy Industries said more than 100 cars that were imported from Japan and were awaiting customs clearance in a warehouse had been damaged by broken windows.
Volkswagen said that some of its imported cars were damaged but did not know exactly how many had been affected. Photographs from the scene showed rows of Beetles and other VW brand cars badly scorched by the explosion.
"We have a task force in the area to find out more and which is primarily concerned with the well-being of our employees," a VW spokeswoman said.
Ford Motor Co, Nissan Motor Co and Toyota also said they were checking their cars parked around the port.
South Korea's Hyundai Motor Corp and Kia Motors Corp had a total of 4,000 cars near the blast site but did not have specific details on the extent of damage, the companies said.
BMW AG said it has two vehicle distribution centers near the port but the damage was unknown given the area had been cordoned off.
Mazda Motor Corp said over 50 cars imported from Japan were also damaged, with peeling paint and scratches.
One nearby showroom was shut on Thursday after its windows shattered, it said.