It’s hard to explain the American fascination with viewing the destruction of brand new things. Some people feel regret at the sight of the loss of something shiny and full of promise. Others relish the visceral experience of watching beauty meet its demise.
People in both camps would have been drawn to an unusual sight taking place in an out-of-the-way corner of the country – just outside Cornersville, Tennessee to be exact. That’s where earlier this month, hundreds of brand new Kia vehicles were fed into a huge metal crusher and flattened beyond recognition.
Why did this happen?
To find the answer, we have to go back to October 10 when a train derailed in this area in the wee hours of the morning. Thankfully, no one was injured – but 16 train cars carrying brand new Kia vehicles left the tracks and wound up scattered over a wide area. A total of 230 Kias were in those derailed cars, and all but 13 of the South Korean-made vehicles sustained some level of damage.
Here’s the rub: because train companies (understandably) insure their cargo heavily, all of the vehicles were claimed as losses and the policyholders were reimbursed accordingly. (Think of it as having a really good auto insurance policy!) Therefore, since all of these cars have been effectively “paid for,” they could not be salvaged and resold to consumers. Instead, they all had to be destroyed – even the undamaged 13 vehicles (as well as many others who reportedly suffered only minor exterior dents).
So that’s exactly what happened. First, the vehicles were photographed and their VIN numbers burned away. Then the cars’ tires were slashed, the batteries taken out, and the fluids drained from their compartments. Finally, stacks of three cars were wrapped in netting and compressed into a rectangular-shaped hunk of metal that was slightly bigger than one regular car. Each unit was loaded onto a flatbed truck to be hauled off to nearby Pulaski, where they will be processed into a form that can be melted into metal to make new vehicles. (Interestingly, the derailed train cars themselves will also be cut up into pieces for recycling purposes – although that process will take longer.)
Observers might find it wasteful and pointless to destroy the 13 Kias which could have been sold new or the other partially damaged vehicles that some people might have been willing to purchase at a discount. However, the decision to crush the cars was made in an abundance of caution to prevent a bad situation from becoming worse. After all, what would happen if any of these Kias from the train was sold to a customer and later involved in an accident due to a defect that was not visible during a casual post-derailment inspection?
That’s why hundreds of spanking new Kias were destroyed in a Tennessee field. The silver lining to all this is that it gave people a chance to see something that doesn’t happen every day.