Out from the frying pan and into the fire, that has been what Uber has been facing over the months. Starting from the lawsuit from Waymo, to sexual harassment claims and former CEO, Travis Kalanick, stepping down, Uber isn’t having a smooth ride at all. Now, the Wall Street Journal has broken a story that the company bought 1,000 defective vehicles to be leased to drivers in Singapore.
The vehicle in question is the the Honda Vezel. This is essentially the Honda HR-V sold in Malaysia; although, parallel imports still use the Vezel name. The particular models bought by Uber had a recall notice by Honda due to an electrical component that could overheat and potentially catch fire. Uber managers in Singapore were supposedly aware of the recall when they purchased the vehicles.
In this case, one of the vehicles caught fire earlier this year in January. The report also notes that Uber used an unofficial third party hack in order to keep the cars on the road while waiting for replacement parts.
Uber has responded by saying that it took swift action to fix the problem and is working with Singapore’s Land Transport Authority. The company has also gone on to also state that it has hired more in-house experts to resolve these issues.
Muddying the issue is the fact that Uber attempted to save money by purchasing the cars from what is often referred to as the “grey market”. According to the report, Uber saved at least 12% by using this purchasing strategy. However, it also complicated matters for the recall as Honda passed responsibility to the importer and not it’s own dealers.
“We acknowledge we could have done more-and we have done so,” a spokesman for the company wrote in an e-mail to the Strait Times. “Since the beginning of the year, we’ve proactively responded to six vehicle recalls and will continue to do so to protect the safety of everyone who uses Uber.”