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San Diego Lands Contract To Bring Fiats Into The Country

— San Diego is now a major welcoming stop for imported Italian cars made by Fiat.

Photo by Erik Anderson

The Fiat 500 L's were still partially bundled in protective wraps as longshoremen drove the cars off the cargo ship at the National City Terminal. With the Fiats, John Pasha's firm, Pasha Automotive Services now brings about 400,000 cars through San Diego each year.

"These actually come from Serbia. So, they're built in Europe, they're run in through Italy, they get train-shipped over to the UK and then they're coming to Baltimore, Halifax, Canada for the eastern region and through San Diego. That handles the entire west half of the United States," said Pasha.

These Fiats are the first of many that are going to be shipped through this port. According to the port, 40,000 Fiats will come through this facility annually.

Port Commissioner Marshall Merrifield said this is only a small slice of the port's revenue, but it means a lot.

"To be able to connect to a brand like Fiat, which is the fourth largest manufacturer of automobiles in Europe, the eleventh-largest one in the world is terrific because as they build their brand, more business happens for all of us," said Merrifield.

The region enjoys economic spillover effects as the port ramps up the money it makes on car shipments, Merrifield said.

"Our total terminal operations, between 10th Avenue and National City, is upwards of $30 million in revenue for the port and growing," said Merrifield.

Fiats will be shipped out of the region on trucks. Eventually, the cars could be shipped to dealers by rail.

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