That question has surfaced following The Wall Street Journal’s latest expose on Uber’s leasing of defective Honda Vezel cars to Singapore drivers knowing those cars could catch fire.
One of the cars did burst into flames in January this year.
In Uber’s internal progress report, the company noted that the LTA failed to adequately maintain a list of recalled vehicles and check it against new cars coming in the country.
The report suggests negligence on the LTA’s part in ensuring safety in the light of events that unfolded.
It appears to be how Uber managed to get away with importing over 1000 defective Honda Vezels over a 9-month period despite the recall of such models due to concerns that they could catch fire.
Like this one.
In April 2016, Honda recalled a model of Honda Vezel because of a faulty part which could overheat and cause a fire.
Despite this recall, Uber continued to import over 1000 Honda Vezels into Singapore from parallel importers.
One of those Honda Vezels, as mentioned above, did erupt in a fiery blaze.
By then, it was already January 2017 – 9 months after Honda’s recall.
The LTA previously declined to reply journalists’ queries on whether it maintained a list of recalled vehicles and checked it against the new cars coming into Singapore.
If there was such a list, defective models of Honda Vezels likely wouldn’t have made it into Singapore until they were first fixed, just like Kah Motor did with the Vezels it imported – fix the flaw first before bringing them in.
The next issue involves the hushing up of the whole flaming Vezel fiasco.
After the January Vezel fire, Uber noted that it had informed the LTA of its plans to fix the defective cars and this plan was approved.
Uber had reportedly tried to cover-up the situation by instructing its Honda Vezel drivers to send their cars for servicing.
The drivers WSJ spoke to say they weren’t told and weren’t aware that this “servicing” was part of Uber’s stopgap measure to fix the faulty part until replacement parts arrived from its grey-market dealers.
This stopgap measure was part of the plan approved by LTA.
By February, 65 percent of Uber’s defective Honda Vezels still had not been fixed.
No advisory was issued by the LTA to warn Singapore Honda Vezel drivers that they could be sitting in a potential mechanical volcano.
It’s August now and Uber says all its defective Honda Vezels have been fixed.
We don’t know for certain when the fixes were completed.
An Uber spokesperson told WSJ: “We took swift action to fix the problem, in close coordination with Singapore’s Land Transport Authority as well as technical experts.”
So, how much did the LTA know about Uber’s plans to hush-up things, and what follow-up action did the LTA take with Uber after knowing that there were problems with its Honda Vezel fleet?
Did it take Uber at its word despite the threat to drivers?
And, did the LTA know that 65 percent of the defective cars still hadn’t been fixed by February, and if it did, why did it hold off on warning drivers?