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Japanese Carmakers Rush To Beat Tariff

Two Japanese automakers rushing to beat the deadline Saturday for a threatened 100 percent tariff on luxury cars diverted New Jersey-bound shipments to Jacksonville to land them a day early.

Nissan North America Inc. and Toyota Motor Sales USA arranged to unload their cars here, the nation’s busiest port for auto imports and exports.

Toyota planned to unload about 350 Lexus vehicles here Friday that were not due in New Jersey until after Saturday’s deadline, said Nancy Hubbell, a Toyota spokeswoman. Nissan planned to unload about 200 Infinitis destined for the Port of Elizabeth, N.J., said Debra Sanchezfair, a Nissan spokeswoman.

“We’re off-loading in Jacksonville to avoid the tariffs,” Hubbell said.

Both companies said ships carrying their cars had been scheduled to stop in Jacksonville to unload autos for the Southeast before continuing on to New Jersey. Now the ships will unload all their cargo in Jacksonville.