Market Mad House

In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule. Friedrich Nietzsche

Market Insanity

Did Uber Lease Unsafe Vehicles to Drivers?

Incredibly a brand-new Uber scandal has come to light. The ride hailing service knowingly leased unsafe vehicles to drivers in Singapore, The Wall Street Journal alleged.

Uber apparently bought more than 1,000 defective Honda Vezels; that were actually recalled by the manufacturer, and leased them to drivers, The Journal claimed. To make matters worse, Uber may have known about defects but failed to fix them.

At least one of those cars caught fire in January while driver was using it for Uber. Fortunately there was no passenger in the car at the time. If that wasn’t bad enough, Uber executives in San Francisco; presumably including Travis Kalanick, apparently knew about the fire emails obtained by The Journal indicate.

The Vezels were left on the road because Uber was afraid of losing business because of publicity about dangerous vehicles, Journal reporting alleged.

“Asking drivers to give up their keys with no suggested fix will send panic alarm bells to the mass market,” Uber’s Singapore general manager allegedly wrote in an email.

Uber Cannot Find a CEO

Unsafe cars are not Uber’s only problem, the company apparently cannot find a CEO to replace Travis Kalanick.

Uber’s leader attempted to find a woman leader to replace the arrogant and ethically challenged Kalanick, The Washington Post reported. Yet all the female candidates the company approached said no.

Uber apparently went begging to such high-profile lady executives; such as Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg and General Motors CEO Mary Barra, who ran away. Now the company’s CEO search is down to three unnamed men.

One wonders if Uber will be able to find a leader before it collapses and gets sold. A major problem Uber faces is to find a CEO with both tech; and auto industry, experience. Barra would have been the logical choice, but it makes no sense for her to join Uber. After all she has a great job turning around a much bigger company.

A more likely outcome would be for Barra to buy Uber and fold it into GM, which would drive Silicon Valley geeks crazy. Once again Uber’s survival as a viable independent company is called into question; as its status as the world’s most valuable unicorn?