Toyota tackles the Taliban’s Toyota taste
The fact that Middle Eastern, African and Afghani Islamic extremists prefer Toyotas as the base for their gunships is more than just an embarrassment for Toyota. The company is taking steps to ensure that thousands of new 300 Series wagons don’t find their way into conflict zones.
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We’ve all seen the footage from numerous trouble spots around the globe, as weapons-fitted HiLuxes and 70-Series rumble over gravel roads, or cross-country, firing as they go. Sure, Toyotas aren’t the only modified-ute brands at war, but they’re by far the most numerous.
Blatant atrocities being carried out by terrorist crews of these vehicles are not creating the positive image Toyota would like, but nearly all the war-going Toyotas haven’t been purchased in the normal way consumers go about it.
The situation has prompted remarks about Toyota’s profiting from these purchases, but the company has a strict policy of not dealing with para-military organisations.
Tracking the ways by which these groups acquire Toyotas isn’t easy. In 2015, for instance, the US state department had to seek Toyota’s help to determine how ISIS was buying new trucks and pickups, according to reports from the USA’s ABC News.
Toyota insisted that although its policies prohibited sales to potential purchasers, who may use or modify them for paramilitary or terrorist activities, vehicles that were stolen or resold were difficult to trace, according to the ABC report.
To prevent large numbers of new 300 Series wagons facing into terrorists’ hands, Toyota instituted a new rule in late July, in an attempt to prevent its vehicles from being used by sanctioned groups like the Taliban.
The 2022 Land Cruiser went on sale in Japan on August 2 and had already racked up an impressive 22,000 pre-orders during July.
However, anyone buying it has to sign a contract promising not to resell the vehicle within a year, Japanese media outlets reported in early August.
Dealers might have to pay damages if their customers resell Land Cruisers, the Japanese publication Creative311 found.
In its statement, Toyota confirmed the purpose of this clause. Toyota is concerned about the flow of vehicles from Japan to overseas immediately after their release, as well as the possibility of their being exported to certain regions where security regulations are in place.
The company is also well aware that selling Toyotas to proscribed groups like rogue governments or terrorist outfits can invite legal penalties.
“There is a risk of violating foreign exchange law and, depending on the export destination, it may lead to major problems that threaten global security,” Toyota said in its statement.
The company acknowledges that some of the 22,000 pre-orders in Japan may not eventuate as sales, following the new company rule.