Uber announced Friday it had taken action to repair faulty cars in Singapore after a report said the ride-hailing giant rented them out to drivers despite being aware of a recall and after one caught fire. The Wall Street Journal reported that Uber managers in Singapore bought more than 1,000 Honda Vezel SUVs and rented them to drivers even though they knew the model had been recalled in April 2016.
The Vezel was recalled due to concerns about an electrical part that could overheat and catch fire, said the paper citing internal Uber documents and interviews with people familiar with Uber’s operations. In January a fire broke out in one of the rented Vezels after an Uber driver dropped off a passenger, melting the interior and leaving a hole in the windscreen, the Journal said. The driver was unhurt.
“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,” said Uber in a statement. “But we acknowledge we could have done more — and we have done so.”
Lion City Rentals is affiliated to Uber and rents out vehicles for its drivers in Singapore, where the cost of owning a car is among the highest in the world.
Uber said it had hired three in-house experts at the company to ensure they are responsive to safety recalls. It is the latest problem for the global ride-sharing giant which has been rocked by reports of harassment and discrimination. Chief executive Travis Kalanick resigned in June, yielding to pressure from investors seeking to clean up a toxic corporate culture.