Uber announced Friday it had taken action to fix 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.
Uber's lawyers in Singapore began assessing the legal liability, including possibly violating driver contracts for supplying faulty cars and failing to immediately inform the Land Transport Authority about the defective cars, emails show.
According to emails and documents reviewed by the Journal, Uber's managers in Singapore were aware of the recall when they purchased the defective vehicles.
Following the fire in January, Uber has had all the affected Vezels repaired, the company spokesman said.
Uber Technologies Inc on Friday reiterated that it was coordinating with regulators in the city state to resolve any concerns after taking action to fix the defects. According to an internal document, the company already had bought some new Vezels when Honda issued a recall for the fuel-powered models on April 4, 2016, advising owners to get them serviced as soon as possible.
"We acknowledge we could have done more-and we have done so".
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When Uber made its first foray into Asia, it chose Singapore as its launching point. According to the Journal, three days after the fire those executives decided that the company should deactivate the faulty devices that might cause a fire but still leave the cars on the road and wait for replacement parts. They chose to deactivate the faulty devices and leave the cars on the road to wait for replacements.
"The recall was done in a hush-hush affair", Alexander Yudhistira, a 31-year-old former Uber driver who had rented a defective Vezel, said. Uber reportedly knew the cars had been recalled by Honda when it leased them - a practice Uber routinely does with its drivers.
Uber Singapore's general manager Warren Tseng, however, replied to Brown's email by saying that the plan would "cost the company about S$1.4 million in driver wages, rental fees and parking costs".
The company emphasized that it had "proactively responded to six vehicle recalls" since the beginning of the year "and will continue to do so". Uber acknowledged in the exchanges that Honda was not legally required to do the repairs. In spite of knowing it is impermissible to alter any part of the auto not in accordance with Honda's discretion, Uber recommended the drivers to have their cars' faulty part repaired.
When asked about it, Uber told NewsAsia that as soon as it learned about the incident, it took prompt action to fix the issue with help from Singapore's Land Transport Authority and technical experts.