Toyota is currently under investigation spearheaded by the US Treasury who want to know why so many Toyota trucks have consistently shown up in ISIS convoys. Almost every militant present in ISIS propaganda videos are shown to be driving Toyota trucks waving their flags, firing a machine gun and more.
“Regrettably, the Toyota Land Cruiser and Hilux have effectively become almost part of the ISIS brand,” Mark Wallace, the CEO of the Counter Extremism Project says.
The Japanese car maker, the second largest in the world, charted out an official response saying, “Toyota has a strict policy to not sell vehicles to potential purchasers who may use or modify them for paramilitary or terrorist activities, and we have procedures and contractual commitments in place to help prevent our products from being diverted for unauthorized military use.”
The company adds that it is co-operating with the inquiry to find out how the trucks several of its trucks have ended up in terrorists’ hands. Toyota did, however, point out that it is quite impossible for any manufacturer to control indirect channels that are used to resell their vehicles in misappropriate ways.
It must be noted that many of the mainstay trucks in ISIS videos are brand new, which has led the Iraqi Government to believe that ISIS has somehow acquired hundreds of Toyotas in the recent years.
According to US deputy assistant secretary of defense for Middle East policy, the reason why the Toyota Hilux is a terrorist’s vehicle of choice is because “It’s the vehicular equivalent of the AK-47.” The truck is durable, fast and maneuverable, making it a forced to be reckoned with – especially when mounted with a machine gun.
Over the years, several other terrorist groups have taken to using Toyota trucks as their mode of transportation. Said groups include Somali pirates in Mogadishu, Pakistani militants, militants in Nicaragua, Rwanda, Lebanon, Yemen and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to name a few.
As for how terrorists managed to get their hands on these vehicles despite Toyota’s strict distribution policy, there is a possibility that they may have been smuggled by individuals who are part of the distribution process.
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