Uber loaned defective, fire-prone cars to drivers in Singapore

Aug. 4 (UPI) — Ride-hailing company Uber knowingly leased more than 1,000 defective, fire-prone Hondas to drivers in Singapore, according to a report.

When Uber made its first foray into Asia, it chose Singapore as its launching point. But the company had trouble finding drivers in the city-state sue to the high cost of car maintenance. To solve the problem, Uber ordered more than 1,000 Honda Vezels from a middleman car leasing company. But the car model had already been recalled by Honda due to a electronic defection that could cause the car to overheat and catch fire, reported the Wall Street Journal.

Internal company memos indicate the company knew about the defective component in the Honda Vezels before they put the cars on the road. And in at least one case, Uber driver Koh Seng Tian has just dropped off a passenger when his Honda Vezel overheated and the dashboard caught fire. He was not hurt in the incident.

After Uber learned about the car ctching fire, it sent notices to drivers that they needed to take the car in “immediate precaution servicing” but didn’t specify the issue.

“The recall was done in a hush-hush affair,” said former Uber driver Alexander Yudhistira. “Drivers weren’t told about the real issue behind the Vezel.”

In a statement to CNBC, Uber said they acted to get the cars repaired immediately after their driver’s car burst into flames.

“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 as well as technical experts,” Uber said. “But we acknowledge we could have done more-and we have done so. We’ve introduced robust protocols and hired three dedicated experts in-house at LCR whose sole job is to ensure we are fully responsive to safety recalls.”

They added: “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.”

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