WASHINGTON —The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA)

applauded Mazda's decision to scrap all the vehicles on board the Cougar Ace which encountered a ballast tank problem causing it to tip severely with a cargo hold full of vehicles. While most of the 4,703 Mazdas were unaffected by the incident, questions arose as to the long-term safety of vehicles held

at such a severe angle for an extended period.

"Even though little visible damage existed on some of the vehicles, Mazda put the customer first and made the right decision to scrap 100 percent of the vehicles because of potential safety concerns." said David Regan, vice president of

legislative affairs with NADA. "This is clear example of good corporate citizenship."

The ship en route from Asia to several ports in North America nearly capsized off the Aleutian Islands in late July after an incident at sea. The ship sat listing at more than 60 degrees for nearly a month until it was righted and towed to the Port of Portland, Ore., for repairs and to have the vehicles off-loaded.

Mazda's actions with the vehicles on the Cougar Ace mirror their support to make the history of totaled vehicles publicly available.

"Mazda has been an ardent supporter of ensuring that insurance companies disclose the VINs so that consumers and dealers have the information they need to make an educated decision on the value and safety of vehicles," Regan added referring to Mazda's support of total-loss disclosure legislation. "By publicly disclosing the VINs of the questionable vehicles and

then choosing to scrap them all together, they show how committed they are to the health and well-being of their customers."

According to a Mazda spokesperson, the VINs of the Cougar Ace vehicles will be submitted to Experian's Autocheck and Carfax, two popular vehicle history databases. The VINs of all of the Cougar Ace vehicles are already available on Mazda's consumer Web site.