Safety concerns over recalled Uber cars in Singapore

Image source, Getty Images

Uber has said it could have done more to pull unsafe cars off the road in Singapore, amid allegations it rented out faulty vehicles to drivers.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday that Uber was aware of a Honda Vezel recall when it purchased more than 1,000 Vezels that were then leased to drivers.

One of these cars caught fire in January, according to the report.

Uber has faced a string of controversies in recent months.

'Robust protocols'

Honda recalled the Vezel model in April 2016 due to a faulty component that could cause overheating.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Uber subsequently bought more than 1,000 of the models and leased them to drivers in Singapore through its affiliate car-leasing company, Lion City Rental.

The leasing arrangement was designed to meet strong demand in the country where the cost of owning a vehicle is extremely high.

In January, one Uber driver had flames burst from the dashboard of his Vezel, causing damage to the interior and windshield, the report said. He was not injured.

"As soon as we learned of a Honda Vezel from the Lion Cit Rental fleet catching fire, we took swift action to fix the problem," Uber said in a statement to the BBC. It did not provide details of what action was taken.

However, the firm said "we could have done more" to deal with the issue.

Uber said it had responded to six vehicle recalls since the beginning of the year.

The company has introduced "robust protocols and hired three dedicated experts in-house at Lion City Rental whose sole job is to ensure we are fully responsive to safety recalls".

Uber said it had worked with Singapore's transport authorities to rectify the problem. The Land Transport Authority did not immediately respond to the BBC's request for comment.

Scandal hit

The safety fears are the latest damaging development to hit Uber in recent months.

It continues to face legal challenges as it fights to repair a corporate image badly bruised by sexism and misconduct allegations.

Chief executive Travis Kalanick resigned in June, bowing to pressure from shareholders. His departure came after a review of practices at the firm and scandals including complaints of sexual harassment.

The San Francisco-based company, which is valued at about $70bn (£53bn), has faced several hurdles in its attempts to rapidly expand globally.

Uber breached local transport regulations in countries including South Korea and India. The company suspended operations in Macau earlier this year after a dispute with local regulators.

Taxi drivers around the world have protested and accused the ride-sharing firm of unfair competition and undercutting prices.

Related Topics

More on this story