Toyota Kenya has hit back at claims that its HINO brand of motor vehicles are of sub-standard quality, accusing buyers who have filed a lawsuit against the Japanese manufacturer of failure to properly maintain their vehicles.
Toyota says in a response to the case filed at the High Court that its vehicles are durable and reliable if maintained and serviced in accordance with its recommendations.
Buyers of the HINO FC500 model trucks and buses in a case filed last month alleged that the vehicles developed common problems ranging from faulty engines and overheating, brake system failure, and chassis cracking even before expiry of their warranties that rendered them un-roadworthy.
“I am aware that there are customers who have faithfully followed the HINO manufacturer’s recommended service and maintenance guidelines as set out in the warranty booklet and owner’s manual and who are happy with the HINO motor vehicles’ quality and performance,” says HINO Kenya general manager Gerald Muli in his court filings.
The product liability claim has been filed by City Star Shuttle Co. Ltd, Beauty Wholesale (K) Ltd, Chania Prestige Shuttle Ltd, Martin Mwangi Njoki, Mungai Kinuthia, Nancy Nyambura Githuku, Peter Kamau Ng’ang’a, Ruth Wangui Korio, Peter Maina Njuguna, Charles Njoroge Ng’ang’a, and George Nguku Njihia.
The case has attracted more persons alleging they bought trucks and buses from the firm but which developed serious mechanical problems a few months after being driven.
Mr Justice Francis Tuiyot yesterday directed those seeking to be enjoined in the case to file their court papers.
Mr Muli further states that the service records available to Toyota Kenya Ltd show that most of the vehicles owned by the companies and individuals who have filed the case against it were not serviced in accordance with the recommended intervals of every 5,000 kilometres.
He said there are those who serviced their vehicles at non-authorised service centres and the problems experienced could thus be attributed to Toyota Kenya.
Mr Muli further said claims of defective engine could not be true when considered against the high mileage records of most of the motor vehicles.
Toyota Kenya said the fact most of the vehicle owners who have come to court continued to buy more HINO vehicles is an indication of their satisfaction with the performance and quality of the vehicles.
The customers had claimed that they are unable to service the loans borrowed to buy the vehicles, most of which are currently grounded for being incapable of operating on Kenyan roads.
However, Mr Muli says in court papers: “The application seems to have been brought to avoid repossession by the financiers and enable the vehicle owners to enjoy continued use of the motor vehicles.”
The buyers have sued Toyota Kenya, the Kenya Bureau of Standards and Tsusho Capital Kenya, a financier business affiliate of Toyota Kenya.
The case will be heard on September 26.