Uber Knowingly Leased Unsafe Cars to Drivers in Singapore
An investigation by The Wall Street Journal has determined that global rideshare company, Uber, leased vehicles to its drivers in Singapore knowing that they could catch fire. The vehicles in question are Honda Vezel SUVs. One Uber driver reported that he had just dropped off a residential customer when he smelled smoke and flames burst from the dashboard, melted the interior and left a football-size hole in his windshield. He walked away from the incident uninjured, but the incident, the Journal reports, caused panic at Uber.
Uber Knew of Fire Risks
The company had rented the Honda Vezel to that particular driver after Honda recalled the model in April 2016 for a defect where the electrical component could overheat and cause a fire. Uber managers were apparently aware of the Honda recall when they purchased more than 1,000 defect Vezel SUVs and leased them to drivers without the needed repairs. The Journal reviewed internal Uber emails and documents and conducted interviews with those familiar with Uber’s operations in the region.
The newspaper found that that three days after the fire, Uber executives in San Francisco were briefed on a response plan. Company officials decided to deactivate the faulty devices and to leave the defective vehicles on the road as they waited for replacement parts.
Based on the Journal’s report, Uber’s actions are truly outrageous. Knowingly leasing defective vehicles to drivers, while fully understanding that they are putting the lives of drivers and passengers at risk, is absolutely unacceptable. As auto defect attorneys, we know how common it is in the United States and elsewhere for defective autos to remain on the streets without being repaired even after a recall.
For example, in the United States, millions of vehicles equipped with Takata airbag inflators are still on the street despite mounting deaths and injuries. Uber reportedly bought the defective, recalled SUVs from what is known as the “grey market” and knowingly leased them out to drivers. We hope Uber is held accountable for its actions and that federal regulators launch an investigation into the type of vehicles that the company is leasing out to drivers in the United States.