Inside The Port Hueneme Vehicle Distribution Center - North American Motoring

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Inside The Port Hueneme Vehicle Distribution Center

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Inside The Port Hueneme Vehicle Distribution Center

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  #1  
Old 01-24-2004, 08:43 PM
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Inside The Port Hueneme Vehicle Distribution Center

On Saturday January 24th, the Los Angeles Chapter of the BMWCCA toured the BMW Vehicle Distribution at Port Hueneme in Oxnard, California (approximately one hour West of L.A., just off the Pacific Coast Highway). There are similar BMW facilities in New Jersey and South Carolina that serve the East Coast.

The VDC was up and running even though it was Saturday. Our tour guide, Eric, stated that they normally worked 7AM to 4PM M-F, but worked Saturdays when there was high demand for "Priority One" vehicles (Priority One is a car that is already sold).

One of the perks of working at the VDC is that each of the 84 employees gets a free BMW lease (3, 5, x3, x5, z4, MINI). They are able to wrack up 15,000 miles on the car then return it for a new one. They can get multiple cars per year.



This very nice 2002 was my favorite BMW at the VDC. =)



Upon walking into the VDC, we were greeted by three new BMW 6-Series. These are the first of only seven 6-Series to come through the Port Hueneme VDC.

The 6-Series Coupe





The 6-Series Convertible







The 84 employees at the Port Hueneme VDC process ~400 cars per day (BMW - New and European Delivery, MINI, and on occasion Rolls Royce). The facility holds 3000 cars, with many more cars waiting down at the docks to travel the 1.3 miles to the VDC.



The 7-Series, 5-Series, and 3-Series are all shipped with a thick waxy coating. This coating is removed with a very hot power car wash. The wax is then recovered and separated from the water, and then it is used to fuel the burners that heat the water for the car wash. These cars are waiting to be cleaned.



Here you can see the wax on the car.



The new X3 is transported in these felty shipping packs. There are zippers around the gas cap, driver's door, and the hood.



After the shipping protection is removed, the cars receive one final wash before entering the VDC building. This next picture is the first step inside the building: software campaigns (in the case of the MINI V.36 if it hasn't already been installed).



At the quickest, a Priority One car could be fully processed in two days. In the past, BMW dyno tested a sampling of arriving cars to see if they were compliant with the HP figures they expected. This process is now done at the factory.



This X3 is getting ready to be checked out and if needed, the yellow grilles can be removed from the floor and the bottom of the car can be accessed from a trench below.



Sometimes cars suffer damage in shipping. This new 5 is getting ready to go to paint. The interior has been stripped and the windows on the side being painted have been removed.

If the car suffers damage in excess of 3% of it's value it has to be disclosed to the dealer. As I understand it, if BMW replaced the engine in your car at the VDC, that would not have to be disclosed to the dealer. This is because all BMW parts are being used and installed to BMW spec. However, repaired body damage (something on the order of the MINI's roof, not like a replaced bumper cover) would be declared to the dealer.



Another BMW waiting to be repaired to BMW specifications.



This MINI was on the lower level of a transport truck. The shipper lowered the upper deck and crushed the roof. BMW has replaced the roof and the car will soon visit the paint shop.



The paint shop was the next station we saw. This 3 needs to get the driver's side door painted. The environment in the paint booth is strictly controlled. After paint, the cars are moved into another room where the paint is baked.



This is the exit to the paint shop.



The MINI color pallet



CANDY BLUE SIGHTING! Ok, so it's not a Candy Blue MINI, but it does appear they are ready to paint MINIs candy blue should the need arise.



This is a Z4 that is in the training area of the body shop. Technicians from dealerships in the Western Region come to the VPC for training.



A straight shot down the length of the Z4



There was a new 5-Series with extensive front end damage. This car was BMW's cold weather test vehicle and it was the first new 5 to be crashed, during testing in Alaska. The car was now being used as a demonstration piece in the training area. This next shot was made possible because the front end bodywork, back to the frame rails, had been removed.



The BMWs and MINIs are processed together.



MINIs nearing the end of the check-out at the VDC.



This MINI has completed the process at the VDC. All it needs now is for a truck to pick it up and take it to it's owner.



If you remember earlier when we saw that MINI with the roof being replaced, this is the type of truck that it was on. The top of the trailer pops up a few feet to allow better access. The cars on the bottom are suppose to be unloaded first :rolleyes: :( poor MINI with the crushed roof. :(



With that, the cars are loaded up and leave the Port Hueneme Vehicle Distribution Center.

Thanks again to the Los Angeles BMWCCA for organizing this event, and thanks to the folks at the VDC for allowing us to come (and take pictures =) ).
 

Last edited by Mark; 09-03-2007 at 10:02 PM. Reason: Updated image locations after server move
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Old 01-24-2004, 08:59 PM
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Excellent photo presentation! That 6-Series is a sharp car!
 
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Old 01-24-2004, 08:59 PM
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you should make this a sticky...this is awesome and would be a great way for people to see how their car comes on over and how it is processed.

Thanks for posting
cheers
jon
 
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Old 01-24-2004, 09:05 PM
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Thank you Dave. Great photo pictorial! Hope to meet you in Vegas!
 
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Old 01-24-2004, 09:05 PM
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:smile: I feel sorry for whomever is the owner of the crushed MINI - wonder if it will be disclosed to them?

Chow!

Donna
 
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Old 01-24-2004, 09:06 PM
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Great tour, Thanks for putting it together and showing us
 
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Old 01-24-2004, 09:08 PM
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As usual - Awesome pics, and a great write up. Looks like you had fun, I'm jealous!
 
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Old 01-24-2004, 09:08 PM
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Great pics and virtual tour, Dave. Makes me glad I have broadband!

Now I will go outside and see if my roof has been replaced after the build.
 
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Old 01-24-2004, 09:12 PM
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I bet those felty shipping packs would go over well with the clear bra crowd....
 
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Old 01-24-2004, 09:28 PM
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Some of the best stuff I have seen on a Mini Cooper enthusiast site! Great post. My worst nightmare when I ordered my MCS was that damage would occur during shipping. I don't feel it is right to repair a brand new vehicle that has been damaged and sell it as new. It has been altered and will never be the same. I feel bad for however buys the Mini with a new roof. It simply is not an ethical business practice in my book and BMW should be disclosing all this info to the new car buyer.
 
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Old 01-24-2004, 09:30 PM
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Is there more than one VDC for the US? What about MINIs that are headed for the west coast?

It worries me that a car can get damaged and then fixed-only to be sold as new? Or is it identified as being damaged and will not be sold as new.

Maybe it is sold as a refurb?
 
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Old 01-24-2004, 10:02 PM
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There is a VDC in Jersey for the East Coast and then the one at Pt. Hueneme for the West Coast.

If the car suffers damage in excess of 3% of it's value it has to be disclosed to the dealer.

 
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Old 01-25-2004, 02:46 AM
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Great thread Dave! This inspires me to figure out if one of the east coast BMWCCA chapters has organized a similar tour of the NJ VPC. :smile:
 
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Old 01-25-2004, 09:10 AM
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I'm going to edit the original post to include this information I left out of the original post - so much information in such a short time.:

Each of the 84 employees at the VDC gets a free BMW lease (3, 5, x3, x5, z4, MINI). They are able to wrack up 15,000 miles on the car then return it for a new one. They can get multiple cars per year.

Damage Disclosure: as I understand it, if BMW replaced the engine in your car at the VDC, that would not have to be disclosed to the dealer. This is because all BMW parts are being used and installed to BMW spec. However, repaired body damage (something on the order of the MINI's roof, not like a replaced bumper cover) would be declared to the dealer.
 
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Old 01-25-2004, 12:11 PM
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That was an awesome pictoral... Really interesting what goes on over there. It's seems like it's so clean!
 
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Old 01-25-2004, 12:49 PM
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Wow!!! Thanks for helping to de-mystify the whole VDC experience for us.
 
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Old 01-25-2004, 01:10 PM
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Wow, very cool tour Dave! Looks like a first class facility.
Shelly
 
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Old 01-25-2004, 03:25 PM
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Dave,

There is another VDC in Greenville, SC for the ships coming into the Charleston port. This also happens to be the BMW plant making the Z4 and X5.

The manufacturer does have to disclose to the dealership, but the % is a fuzzy percent and is not always followed. Also, the dealer does not need to disclose this to the consumer. Unfortunately, all manufacturers and dealers appear to do this. I really think it should be outlawed and think that is very deceptive. Whenever a vehicle is damaged value is lost, plain and simple. It doesn't matter how good the shop is, the vehicle is damaged. And a really good investigator can tell. Also in some cases the safety of the vehicle can be compromised. The repair can never duplicate the integrity during the build process. The consumer should have the right to decline acceptance of the car based on these terms. I did not find out the damage to my car until after I purchased my vehicle. I was very upset. You can say the dealership did not have good ethics, but it appears to be extremely widespread. As far as the dealership is concerned they took delivery of a complete vehicle from the factory. The VDC is considered part of the manufacturing process and therefore not considered deliverded until it gets to the dealership. The dealership is not obligated to disclose anything, although they did have the information.

It is a very bad practice and in my opinion the loophole should be closed.
 
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Old 01-25-2004, 04:03 PM
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Thanks, Dave...do I see some material that may make it into the 2005 NAM Calendar???
 
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Old 01-25-2004, 04:32 PM
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Dave, that's a VERY nice pictoral. Good job. This should be all all time sticky. Now people have more of an understanding of what goes on when their vehicle arrives.

I agree, the 6 series looks good in those pics!
 
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Old 01-25-2004, 04:59 PM
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Thanks for the inside look Dave - it obviously took a lot of effort and is much appreciated! :smile:
 
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Old 01-25-2004, 07:02 PM
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Dave,

Very nice shots, as usual. Nice post and cool window into another world.
 
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Old 01-25-2004, 07:17 PM
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Dave, a great big THANK YOU for posting all those pics and write-up! What a fun tour of the VPC!

I also agree that this post should be a sticky. Or at least put a link to it in the faq section on how to track your MINI coming over the pond.

Great job!

SCoop

PS Love those felty thingies! They look like cars in bunny suits!

_________________
My MINI makes me want to do the happy dance!
 
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Old 01-25-2004, 07:25 PM
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Very very nice Dave. Thanks for the effort!
 
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Old 01-25-2004, 07:55 PM
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Great photo tour. Just waiting for the next snow fall to hit the east coast.
Looking forward to some "good weather" driving. Thanks again.
 
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