Where the World's Unsold Cars Go To Die

Tyler Durden's picture

In the past several years, one of the topics covered in detail on these pages has been the surge in such gimmicks designed to disguise lack of demand and end customer sales, used extensively by US automotive manufacturers, better known as "channel stuffing", of which General Motors is particularly guilty and whose inventory at dealer lots just hit a new record high. But did you know that when it comes to flat or declining sales and stagnant end demand, channel stuffing is merely the beginning?


Where the World's Unsold Cars Go To Die (courtesy of Vincent Lewis' Unsold Cars)

Above is just a few of the thousands upon thousands of unsold cars at Sheerness, United Kingdom.  Please do see this on Google Maps....type in Sheerness, United Kingdom.  Look to the west coast, below River Thames next to River Medway. Left of A249, Brielle Way.

Timestamp: Friday, May 16th, 2014.

There are hundreds of places like this in the world today and they keep on piling up...


Houston...We have a problem!...Nobody is buying brand new cars anymore!  Well they are, but not on the scale they once were.  Millions of brand new unsold cars are just sitting redundant on runways and car parks around the world.  There, they stay, slowly deteriorating without being maintained.

Below is an image of a massive car park at Swindon, United Kingdom, with thousands upon thousands of unsold cars just sitting there with not a buyer in sight. The car manufacturers have to buy more and more land just to park their cars as they perpetually roll off the production line.

There is proof that the worlds recession is still biting and wont let go.  All around the world there are huge stockpiles of unsold cars and they are being added to every day.  They have run out of space to park all of these brand new unsold cars and are having to buy acres and acres of land to store them.


The images on this webpage showing all of these unsold cars are just a very small portion of those around the world.  There are literally thousands of these "car parks" rammed full of unsold cars in practically every country on the planet.  Just in case you were wondering, these images have not been Photoshopped, they are the real deal!

Its hard to believe that there are so many unsold cars in the world but its true.  The worse part is that the amount of unsold cars keeps on getting bigger every day.

It would be fair to say that it is becoming a mechanical epidemic of epic proportions.  If anybody from outer space is reading this webpage, we here on Earth have too many cars, why not come and buy a few hundred thousand of them for your own planet! (sorry but this is all I can think of)

Below is shown just a few of the 57,000 cars (and growing) that await delivery from their home in the Port of Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A. With Google Maps look South of Broening Hwy in Dundalk for the massive expanse of space where all these cars are parked up.

The car industry would never sell these cars at massive reductions in their prices to get rid of them, no they still want every buck.  If they were to price these cars for a couple of thousand they would sell them.  However, nobody would then buy any expensive cars and then they  would end up being unsold.  Its quite a pickle we have gotten ourselves into.

Below is shown an image of the Nissan test track in Sunderland United Kingdom.  Only it is no longer being used, reason...there are too many unsold cars parked up on it!  The amount of cars keeps on piling up on it until its overflowing.  Nissan then acquires more land to park up the cars, as they continue to come off the production line.

UPDATE: Currently May 16th, 2014, all of these cars at the Nissan Sunderland test track have disappeared? Now I don't believe they have all suddenly been sold.  I would guess they may have been taken away and recycled to make room for the next vast production run.

Indeed next to that test track and adjacent to the Nissan factory, they are collating again as shown on the Google Maps image below.  So where did the last lot go? This is not an employees car park by the way.

None of the images on this webpage are of ordinary car parks at shopping malls, football matches etc.  Trust me, they are just mountains and mountains of brand spanking new unsold cars. There is no real reason why you should be driving an old clunker now is there?

The car industry cannot stop making new cars because they would have to close their factories and lay off tens of thousands of employees.  This would further add to the recession.  Also the domino effect would be catastrophic as steel manufactures would not sell their steel. All the tens of thousands of places where car components are made would also be effected, indeed the world could come to a grinding halt.

Below is shown just a small area of a gigantic car park  in Spain where tens of thousands of cars just sit and sunbathe all day.

They are also piling up at the port of Valencia in Spain as seen below.  They are either waiting to be exported to...nowhere or have been imported...to go nowhere.

Tens of thousands of cars are still being made every week but hardly any of them are being sold.  Nearly every household in developed countries already has a car or even two or three cars parked up on their driveway as it is.

Below is an image of thousands upon thousands of unsold cars parked up on a runway near St Petersburg in Russia.  They are all imported from Europe, they are all then parked up and they are all then left to rot. Consequently, the airport is now unusable for its original purpose.

The cycle of buying, using, buying using has been broken, it is now just a case of "using" with no buying. Below is an image of thousands of unsold cars parked up on an disused runway at Upper Heyford, Bicester, Oxfordshire. They are seriously running out of space to store these cars.

It is a sorry state of affairs and there is no answer to it, solutions don't exist.  So the cars just keep on being manufactured and keep on adding to the millions of unsold cars already sitting redundant around the world.

Below are parked tens of thousands of cars at Royal Portbury Docks, Avonmouth, near Bristol in the United Kingdom. If you look on Google Maps and scan around the area at say 200ft you will see nothing but parked up unsold cars. They are absolutley everywhere in that area practically every open space has unsold cars parked up on it.

Below is that same area in Avonmouth, UK, but zoomed out. Every gray space that you see is filled with unsold cars.  Anyone want to hazard a guess at how many are there...

As it is, there are more cars than there are people on the planet with an estimated 10 billion roadworthy cars in the world today.

We literally cannot make enough of them. Below are seen just a few of the thousands of Citroen's parked up at Corby, Northamptonshire in England. They are being added to daily, imported from France but with nowhere else to go once they arrive.

So there they sit, brand spanking new cars, all with a couple of miles on the clock that was consummate with them being driven to their car parks.  Below is the latest May 2014 Google Maps image of unsold cars in Corby, Northamptonshire.

Manufacturing more cars than can be sold is against all logic, logistics and economics but it continues day after day, week after week, month after month, year in year out.

Below is shown a recent (April 2014) screen grab from Google Maps of the Italian port of Civitavecchia.  All those little specks are a few thousand brand new unsold Peugeots.  Just collecting dust and maybe a bit of salty sea spray!

Below, all nice and shiny but with nowhere to go.  Red and white and black and silver, purple, pink and blue, all the colors of the rainbow and be they all brand new.  Indeed all the colors of the rainbow are down there on those cars, making pretty mosaics, montages of color and still life.  Maybe that is all they will now ever be, surreal urban art of the techno production age.  Magnificent metal boxes, wasting space and saving grace, all sitting still, because its business at mill.

All around the world these cars just keep on piling up, there is no end in sight.  The economy shouts out quite loud that nobody has the money anymore to spend on a new car. The reason being that they are making their "old" cars go on a lot longer.  But we cannot stop making them, soon we will run out of space to park them.  We are nearly running out of space to drive them that's for sure!

Below, more cars mount up in the port of Valencia in Spain. They will not be exported as there is nowhere for them to go, so they just sit and rot in their colorful droves.

Gone are the days when the family would have a new car every year, they are now keeping what they have got.  It may be fair to say that some  families still get a new car every year but its the majority that now do not.

The results are in these images, hundreds of thousands if not millions of cars around the world are driven from their factories, parked up and left.

Could we say that these cars have been left to rot!  Maybe, as these cars will certainly rot if they are not bought, driven and cared for.  It does not look like they will be sold any day soon, many of them have been standing for over 12 months or even longer and this is detrimental to the car.

Below, as far as the eye can see, right into the background, cars, cars and more cars. But what's beyond the horizon?  Have a guess...Yes that's right...even more cars!  All brand new but with no homes to go to.  Do you think they will ever start giving them away, that may be the only radical solution.  Who knows, you could soon be getting a free car with every packet of cornflakes.

When a car is left standing idle, all the oil sinks to the bottom of the sump, and then corrosion begins to set in on all the internal engine parts where the oil has drained away.

Cold corrosion is when condensation builds up in the cylinders and rust forms in the bores. The engines would then start to seize and would need to be professionally freed before they could be started.  Also the tires start to lose air and the batteries start to go flat, indeed the detrimental list goes on and on.

So the longer they sit there the worse it slowly becomes for them.  What is the answer to this?  Well they need to be sold and that just isn't happening.

The epidemic is not improving, it is getting worse.  Car manufactureres are constantly coming out with new models with the latest technology in them.  Hence prospective buyers of, for example, a new Citroen Xsara Picasso want the latest model, not last years model.  Hence all the unsold Citroen Xsara Picasso cars from the previous year will now have even lesser chance of being sold.

The problems then just keep on mounting up.  In the end, the unsold cars that are say 2 years old will have no alternative but to be either crushed up, dismantled and/or their parts recycled.

Some car manufacturers moved their production over to China, General Motors and Cadillac are examples of this.  They are then shipped over in containers and unloaded at ports.  However they are now being told to put a big halt in their import into the U.S.A. as they just can't sell them in the quantities they would desire.  Consequently Chinese car parks are now filling up with brand new American cars.  Well nobody in China can afford them on their meagre pittance wages, so there they will stay until our economy improves...which it might do in a few generations.

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TruthTalker's picture

This is the dumbest thing I have ever seen - people would gladly buy these cars and the manufacturers should be happy to get some money back - even if it is just cost and few hundred over - how could any company be viable after this? 

the grateful unemployed's picture

you're wrong as rain, if the the automakers take a loss their stock price goes down and they can no longer use their reflated capex to manufacture their primary source of value, financially engineered profits. as someone said of GE a few years ago, its no conglomerate, its a hedge fund, most companies are. since the wall street corporates profit directly from inflated assets their hedge fund model is doing better than conventional hdege funds, which is why hedge funds buy oil for storage and real estate with cash. i would say sell these cars to the hedge funds on spec, but you have to store them and maintain them and they are perishable as summer peaches, nobody wants a 2013 car in 2014. (see bob prechter, two jaguars)

deflator's picture

 Yep, wrong as rain, guy's probably hoarding stacks of barbarous relics too. There is no misallocation of resources, mismanagement or fraud here, it's just how modern finance "works."

headhunt's picture

The problem is even if sold at cost the embedded union cost to manufacture a new car makes it too expensive for the average person. When GM, Chrysler went bankrupt it was because of the unions and associated costs. The zero administration thought they would fix the problem by eliminating a lot of the Dealers and the remaining Dealers would be able to sell vehicles because the competition was reduced - yes that is how stupid they are.

When people who have never run a company or held a real job are in charge you just get bigger piles of stupid.

Seer's picture

"When GM, Chrysler went bankrupt it was because of the unions and associated costs."

And "associated costs," like they're secondary to "union costs?"  Seems like you're doing a good job of loading up on the anti-labor rhetoric.  And the non-union part -management- had no part in the failure?  (or, as I note below, the fact that everyone is broke also has no part?)  But anyway...

GROWTH IS DEAD.  Growth is what presents the actual positive margins.  It's what holds off deflation.  It enables economies of scale (in the positive direction).

Everyone is broke.  Raw materials, the processing of them, and labor were always greared toward increased growth.  When that growth isn't there it all unravels.  Further, you can go back a LONG time and see how industry and politics pushed "new markets" for dumping.  No new markets (no growth), so the dumping no longer is working: rather than what the term originally meant -to sell off over-production- "dumping" is now tending to reflect the literal.

As someone with a bunch of different types of "vehicles" (I refer to them as tools) I can attest to the realities of managing/maintaining/operating them.  Even if people could get "free" cars they're going to struggle to maintain/operate them: and most likely they'll not (just like with most folks' that are underwater with their homes).

All of this is WAY beyond being about labor issues/costs (not that I do not acknowledge that part of the equation- it's just that the equation itself is really no longer that which it had been [one that never dwelt on the notion of permanent loss of growth due to declining resources]).

Againstthelie's picture

There is proof that the worlds recession is still biting and wont let go. 

That's sadly the totally wrong conclusion.

It only shows that too much cars are produced and that the force of exponential growth will destroy this planet.

That's the result of debt based compound interest money.


And secondly it is interesting what all the brabbling about green and sustainability is: hypocrisy from a regime built on nothing but lies.

Incubus's picture

society is make believe.


those fields of cars are a wake up call to the world we exist in.  Remember the fields from the matrix?


Under the same umbrella.  We're batteries. 

Comte d'herblay's picture

This is informative but I don't see a whole lot of Maserati Ghilbi's, Ferraris, Teslas, F-types, Corvettes, 65 Mustang cherries, Lambhorghinis, Lotuses, Escalaldes, Suburbans, Porsches, Mercedes, Audis, Beemers, Humvees,....

What I see are only Middle Classes rides.  


FeralSerf's picture

Yep. And a rapidly shrinking middle class buys a rapidly shrinking number of new cars, eh?

Blue Horshoe Loves Annacott Steel's picture

Who is this "Middle Class" you speak of?  

Are they from the "Middle East" or "Middle Earth"?

The Pop In's picture

Watch, the government will start giving people new cars instead of dollar denominated tax refunds, problem solved. People will have more $ to spend into the economy because they will not have a car payment every month ;-)

the grateful unemployed's picture

they'll default on their bonds and give payment in kind. this is what we bought with those worthless bonds, so this is what you get

joeknows's picture

Where are the auditors making the car companies take the fucking write downs!

Baby Eating Dingo22's picture

errrr...how would I find the west coast?

pupdog1's picture

These photos are the employee lots at NSA facilities around the world.

Emergency Ward's picture

ha ha, thanks, I was mistaken in thinking that they were shots of Russian tanks massed at the Ukrainian border...

Imminent Collapse's picture

I've thought this before, but it can't be long now. Can it?

the grateful unemployed's picture

i think we could film the remake of the Blues Brothers, we have a lot of empty malls too

boeing747's picture

At the same time, Audi dealer in sf bay are are stormed by twitter and facebook workers.

novictim's picture

We are supposed to get a 12-30 foot sea level rise. If we deploy the airbags on all this inventory, will the cars float?  That could be useful.

RabbitOne's picture

The unsold car lot has been around for more than half a century in the auto industry. As a former manager in the auto industry I saw it as just another gimmick used by the bean counters. The object of the automotive bean counters is not to scare investors in their stocks and bonds.

 The auto bean counters made it appear they were producing to a “continuous demand” rather than the actual “boom bust” cycle that are the norm for automotive companies. Automotive bean counters did this so they could borrow billions during the bust cycle to have enough money to produce the next big car or truck winner for the boom cycle.

 A good example of unsold cars was first reported in Detroit’s news papers during the 1979 recession when they guessed that Chrysler had more unsold cars in Detroit lots than it had sold in the last 14 months. Embarrassed by this report Chrysler panicked, then Chrysler did what it had done in the past and looked for another Wall Street white night to bail them out. None was found because of the 1979 oil shock. So Uncle Sam bailed them out and Lee Iacocca revamped them.

 Auto bean counters have gotten very creative in handling this big unsold inventory. I saw more than 20 categories for unsold cars. For example the Unsold cars are listed as leased out and later disposed of as coming off lease sales (a little old lady leased it and never drove it), next are the ones in the rental car fleet (people wanted to lease bigger cars so no one drove it), then the company car fleet (company was having rough time and never drove it), returned as part of a lemon law (the car is now fixed but has low miles), returned from a dealer (was on the dealers lot but they were not aware it was there), and twenty other codes I cannot remember from their unsold list. 

headhunt's picture

Sounds like those bean counters have a future in government

The Old Man's picture

You know the other thing to consider about dumping them for much lower prices is that it sets a precedent about real costs. What if they did sell them for chump change? Say a $24,000 vehicle for a mere $4,000. There would have to be a financial backlash of tremendous proportions. Forget the stock holders, that would be like a bankruptcy sale. If the big 3 and others can't hold onto pricing then that would cascade down the chain of goods and services like a wildfire in California. Deflationary pressure would be enormous.

RaceToTheBottom's picture

And Debased Accounting helps make this possible. It is going to take generations to clean up this mess and let market forces drive things.

razorthin's picture

Infinite fiat meets finite demand, bitchez.  By all free market rights, even new POS should sell for a dollar.

yogibear's picture

 Alll these autos can be stored in the increasing number of ghost Malls in the US.

In the mean time the Federal Reserve and it's banksters are loading up the youth with generational debt.

Although subprime housing is back baby! Load up on that 125% LTV, buy PMs and then default. Squat for 2 years and live well.  

Housing bust #2 on it's way.

headhunt's picture

Do not be surprised if government starts confiscating savings accounts and issuing you a vehicle in exchange.

hooligan2009's picture

excellent article.. sell car stocks? are we sure this isn't inventory that isnt en route to dealer lots after a few weeks?

assuming it isn't...

we have had private profits and public losses for banks.. here we have private book profits masking billions upon billions of losses for car makers.. who also got a bail out in the GFC.

this is what happens when accountants don't value inventory correctly, companies dont make losses for lack of sales..

how on earth is a new car buyer supposed to know they aren't getting one of these cars that has been sitting exposed for months and won't be a dud? maybe these cars are non bio-degradable and are indestructible, so it doesn't matter if they are left unused? hmmm

does someone have anumber for inventory turn per car manufacturer in months over the last ten years?

moneybots's picture

China builds cities where no one lives and the U.S. builds cars no one drives.

tarsubil's picture

This is not a big deal. The intergalactic aliens think new cars taste like honey.

riverjock's picture

Perhaps a better use of resources would be to have people dig holes and have more fill them in...

RMolineaux's picture

Think of the energy expended to fabricate all these vehicles.  No wonder we are seeing global warming.

Sathington Willougby's picture

50 barrels of oil per car I heard quoted once.  That's why cash for clunkdogglers made so much sense.  Get them coming and going with the debt load of a new car and then make them pay the carbon tax.  The energy is super cheap at the point of a gun.

define: peak oil - the maximum amount of petroleum an empire is able to wrest from tributes and expansion.

CTG_Sweden's picture


I think that the article above exaggerates the problem although I agree there is a problem, see:




But perhaps too many unsold cars has contributed to the fact that Berkshire Hathaway (Warren Buffett) has cut its stake in General Motors:




mumbo.jumbo's picture

"As it is, there are more cars than there are people on the planet with an estimated 10 billion roadworthy cars in the world today."


that can't be true... i think it's more like around 1 billion after a cursory research.




Calling Elvis's picture



Links to Google and Bing maps of the Nissan Test track in Sunderland UK.  No cars here to see!  How old are these images?  Don't know but there were no cars stored here when these images were made.



Calling Elvis's picture



Links to Google and Bing maps of the docks at Sheerness UK.  Can't say which image is the oldest/newest but whatever the case some inventory moved from one pic to the next


narlah's picture



2009 year, i will agree with the guy that yes there is a lot of unsold cars in storage, but his breaking news images from this year aren't :P

Bear's picture

2009 was a bad year for inventory build ... wonder what's it's like today ... we do not know from these pictures

Sathington Willougby's picture

Iffen the musselmans don't make their wiveses drive we're gonna bomb them back to the stone age.

withglee's picture

Just In Time (JIT) inventory control is the rule now ... not the exception, especially when supply can easily meet demand and demand is predictable. You don't need much safety stock. You don't need much inventory at all. This is not "in transit" inventory waiting for the next truck, or train, or ship. Proper planning does not use old airstrips for that because that is expensive ... severely sub optimal. The lots are at the shipping point and are not large in terms of days of inventory. This is clearly political inventory control.

Fijiaaron's picture

There is one of these in Brooklyn. Thousands of new cars at an unused port once filled with shipping containers, now a parking lot for unsold new cars. Prime real estate looking north to the Manhattan skyline that the city is sitting on with the idiotic dream of a train ferry to New Jersey.

ThanksIwillHaveAnother's picture

Well, car and motorcycle manufacturers register a sale when the product ships out of the factory.  This is what did in Allis-Chalmers: they rented fields with rail access to "ship" tractors there to store and register sales.  Eventually they had to bring those assets back on the books and that was the end.

WilliamShatner's picture

Had to chime in here because I'm seeing this where I live (Silicon Valley).  I'm seeing undeveloped lots being fenced off and stuffed with brand new cars from surrounding dealerships.  They pretty much have to because their onsite overflow lots are already full.

The local eatery I go to regularly is located in an outdoor mall built in the 70s, one of those places that has a huge parking lot that is maybe 1/2 full at it's busiest of times because the mall itself only has a 1/2 occupancy rate.  Most of the places have been shuttered for years almost 20 years now. 

Anyway, that parking lot has now been slowly getting filled up with new cars from the Audi dealership down the street.  Brand new cars just sitting there out in the open, and this is in a neighborhood that is not very safe.  It's not ghetto, but there is a lot of seedy homeless and other undesirable types roaming around.

It's pretty amazing when you think about it.  I would personally love to buy a new car but they are so damned expensive it just doesn't make sense.

Then you see these pictures of unsold cars sitting around and wonder what the hell is going to happen to these things.  Are they really going to just sit there and rot or will they simply be "recycled". 

g'kar's picture

Finally an explanation for crop circles.

NoTTD's picture

Why aren't these being stolen by the thousands?  They wouldn't even be missed.  

VWAndy's picture

They no shit will have to mandate all cars older than x must be scrapped on trade in. With a big fat fiat trade in scam. You will be driving a new car weather you want to or not.  Even the classics will have to be turned in. All other options lead to an economic crash that will make 08 look microscopic.

 Think about it. TBTF as a buisiness model.

 That entier industry running way in the red on fiat. No more independant nothing. Because you cant compete with a counterfitter.

 Think of it as vacume up economics. jmo