Uber bought and rented over 1000 defective cars in Singapore

  • Uber bought and rented over 1000 defective cars in Singapore

Uber bought and rented over 1000 defective cars in Singapore

According to the Journal, Uber executives in Singapore made a decision to continue to rent the cars to drivers there, though it did disable the device that was under recall.

The Journal said one senior Uber Singapore executive described a possible recall, which would have left affected drivers without their vehicle since there was no immediate fix, as an event that would "send panic alarm bells to the mass market".

"But we acknowledge we could have done more-and we have done so".

The ride-sharing operator purchased 1,200 Honda Vezel units from various parallel import companies including Sunrita, because it would cost 12 percent lower than authorised Honda distributors, according to a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) report, which cited internal documents.

WSJ links the episode to Uber's reckless drive for expansion, a move that sees the company often violating local laws.

Uber leases cars to their drivers via Lion City Rentals, created by the former in February 2015 to rent Uber-owned cars to partners.

Uber executives in Singapore knew of the safety issue linked to a faulty electrical component in the company's fleet of Vezels, but kept the cars on the road while awaiting replacement parts, the Journal reported.

Two days after Honda issued a product recall for the Vezel, Uber bought 100 Honda Vezels from Singapore-based dealer Sunrita on 6 April 2016. As of January 2017, the cars remained unfixed.

The NPHVA also called on drivers to be proactive and check their cars for mechanical faults, or send their cars back to the rental companies for further inspection if it is necessary.

One of these dealers was Sunrita Pte Ltd., who had reportedly not fixed the cars sold to Uber as of the end of Aug a year ago, "citing a shortage of replacement parts", to which Uber sent periodic emails for them to speed up the process. Uber has often touted that its vehicles are owned by drivers themselves. The overheating and fire dangers weren't mentioned. They are also required to rectify the defects and update LTA on the progress of the rectification works, LTA said. According to an internal report, Uber blamed LTA for failing to maintain a list of recalled vehicles and checking the list against new cars entering Singapore.

It also seems to have asked drivers to bring the defective Vezels to auto repait shops so that the faulty parts could be disabled. At least one of those dealers didn't get the Vezels fixed before selling them to Uber. You might assume a company would be more diligent about vehicle safety checks than an individual, after all.

Uber has since introduced a recall protocol for the company and hired three in-house experts to ensure the ride-hailing company is "fully responsive" to safety recalls, the spokesperson said.