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Car Tech

Uber bought and rented over 1,000 defective cars in Singapore

The Honda Vezel was recalled last year for an electrical component fault that can lead to overheating. One car owned by Uber caught fire.

Uber lets customers plan rides a month ahead
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Uber's public image problem has burned for most of the year. Now, one of its cars has literally gone up in flames.

Uber Singapore bought more than 1,000 Honda Vezels to rent to its drivers in the country after the Japanese company had recalled the car because of an electrical component fault that was deemed a fire hazard, reports The Wall Street Journal. Honda conducted the recall in 2016.

At least one Uber driver experienced a fire in his car. Thankfully, The Journal reports, Koh Seng Tian walked away from the January incident without injury.

"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," Uber said in a statement. "But we acknowledge we could have done more -- and we have done so."

Uber has established "robust protocols" and hired three experts "to ensure we are fully responsive to safety recalls," the statement said. 

Uber employees in Singapore knew about the Vezel recall before they purchased the fleet of cars, according to The Journal, which cited internal documents it obtained. After flames broke out in Koh's vehicle, Uber's Singapore management contacted the company's Silicon Valley HQ to say it would deactivate the defective component, leave the cars on the road and await replacement parts. 

It's been a year full of tumult for Uber. The company is looking for a new CEO after co-founder Travis Kalanick was forced to step down in June. His resignation came amid a wave of scandals. 

Former US Attorney General Eric Holder conducted an investigation into claims of sexual harassment. Holder's investigation resulted in a report that recommended "changes to senior leadership."