Uber Singapore Stokes a Fire by Driving in a Thousand Faulty Cars
Ride-hailing firm bought Vezel SUVs that maker Honda had recalled due to electrical fault and rented out to drivers without repairing: Media report
Singapore: Uber Technologies Inc knowingly rented its drivers defective cars at risk of catching fire, according to a media report on Friday, and the ride-hailing firm said it moved to fix the problem after one of the vehicles suffered a fire.
The report cited internal emails and documents showing Uber’s Singapore unit bought more than 1,000 Vezel sport-utility vehicles that maker Honda Motor Co had recalled due to an electrical fault.
It reported the Singapore management was aware of the recall, and that the cars Uber had bought and rented out had not been repaired. The report also said management pressed the car dealer for repairs while renting out the vehicles. “As soon as we learned of a Honda Vezel from the Lion City Rental fleet catching fire, we took swift action to fix the problem, in close coordination with Singapore’s Land Transport Authority,” Uber said in a statement.
The vehicle caught fire in Janu- ary, the report said. The Land Transport Authority did not comment on the report. An Uber spokesman in Singapore declined to elaborate on whether management knowingly rented out defective vehicles, directing Reuters to the company statement. The spokesman said all vehicles have now been repaired. “We acknowledge we could have done more — and we have done so,” Uber said in its statement. It said it had hired three experts “whose sole job is to ensure we are fully responsive to safety recalls."
The report said that Uber’s lawyers had assessed potential legal liabilities including possibly violating driver contracts. “There is clearly a large safety/ responsible actor/brand integrity/PR issue,” for Uber, the media report said citing the company’s internal documents.
“(This incident) will receive some attention and may dissuade some people from using Uber, but I don’t see it as having a major impact,” said Dane Anderson, a vice-president at researcher Forrester.