Author: 
GALAL FAKKAR | ARAB NEWS
Publication Date: 
Sat, 2012-01-14 01:07

JEDDAH: Senior officials at Abdul Latif Jameel Co. (ALJ), the sole authorized dealer of the Japanese carmaker Toyota in the Kingdom, have reaffirmed that the cruise control system in the Toyota Land Cruiser is flawless and working in the proper manner. Addressing a press conference at ALJ headquarters here on Friday, Saad Al-Ghamdi, deputy president of ALJ, stated that not a single incident of cruise control system defects had been reported from any Toyota vehicles sold in the Saudi market.
Reacting to recent media reports about a Land Cruiser accident in Hafar Al-Batin that occurred after the vehicle’s cruise control allegedly malfunctioned last week, Ibrahim Badawood, spokesman of ALJ, clarified that the charge was found to be baseless by an expert committee that probed the accident. It was also stated in the press meet that the car owner deliberately created the problem. Al-Ghamdi said both ALJ and Toyota consider the safety of customers a red line that could not be crossed under any circumstances and that they are always seeking to get feedback and remarks from customers.
“Both companies shall accept responsibility if a flaw or a technical defect is detected in any of Toyota’s vehicles, as per systems and regulations. We are always prepared to report and recall any car with proven technical and manufacturing flaws, to guarantee the safety and security of our customers,” he said.
Al-Ghamdi said that Maj. Gen. Suleiman Al-Ajlan, director general of Traffic Administration, had issued a directive on Jan. 5 to form a committee to test the Land Cruiser with the reported malfunctioning cruise control system. Members of the committee included Col. Daifullah Al-Jabali, head of Hafar Al-Batin traffic department, director of Hafr Al-Batin Auto Vehicles Periodic Inspection Station, representatives of ALJ and a representative of communication office with Toyota, in addition to representatives of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and Saudi Standards Organization. Al-Ghamdi stated that the committee conducted a series of technical tests along distances spanning more than 400 kilometers. Testing started on Jan. 7 and continued for six days.
Spelling out the major findings of the committee, Ibrahim Badawood said there were no technical or manufacturing flaws in the cruise control system of the Hafr Al-Batin Land Cruiser.
“The Land Cruiser owner apologized for not showing up at the meetings of the committee to present his statement. He also apologized for not delivering his statement through the phone,” he said, quoting the committee report.
The committee also found that the car computer (black box) was connected to the intelligent electronic test device through which all data stored in the computer was read. All readings were normal. No flaws in any of the systems of the car were found stored in the computer’s memory. Efficiency of the black box was also tested by deliberately inducing a flaw in the cruise control system. When the black box was returned to the workshop, the computer detected a flaw in the cruise control system.
The spokesman asserted that the breaking of the rear glass as happened in the Hafar Al-Batin incident had nothing to do with the acceleration system. He also drew attention to the fact that ALJ did not give any advice or recommendation about the shooting issue to stop the vehicle. “Contrary to stories appearing in the local media, ALJ’s experts and engineers did not give advice to do so. We have never heard about similar shooting from any other motor company in the world. In fact, there is no link between the cruise control system and the rear glass of the vehicle,” he said.
Badawood added that the cruise control system was designed to operate at a maximum speed of 200 km per hour, and varied from one model to another. “Moreover, the system is equipped with a black box, similar to that in airplanes, to diagnose all operations of the vehicle and to record all the details,” he said.
Referring to the week-long diversified technical tests conducted in Hafr Al-Batin, Badawood said that the cruise control system was tested more than 50 times and that all results revealed that the vehicle was free from any technical and manufacturing flaws.
“The cruise control system was also tested more than 70 times on varying speeds along a distance exceeding 150 kilometers, and it has been proved that the cruise control system was normal on varied test speeds,” he added.
Addressing the media, Osman Al-Orabi, maintenance executive director at ALJ, said that the owner of the Hafr Al-Batin Land Cruiser admitted that he added an aftermarket cruise control system to the car. “The car owner did not respond to requests to inspect the claimed flaw and did not bring his car for checking. Instead, he is avoiding any contact with us,” he said.
Al-Orabi reassured worried owners that ALJ gives top priority to the safety of Toyota and Lexus vehicles and safety of customers, and that the company will never allow a flaw to go unreported.
“ALJ is always prepared for recalls in case of any manufacturing flaws in Toyota or Lexus vehicles, whether they were imported by ALJ or from anywhere in the world,” he said.
ALJ officials said the company is continuously seeking to communicate with its customers through its Guests Care Center. Customers may communicate their queries, suggestions or even complaints through the toll free number 800 244-4400, www.ALJ.com, or through Toyota Saudi Arabia at http://www.toyota.com.sa.

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