Toyota’s financing arm Tsusho Capital has denied receiving any complaints on mechanical defects affecting 45 Hino buses it sold to 11 companies and individuals.
The buyers have lodged a product liability claim against it, its sister companies and the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs).
Tsusho claims that only one buyer, Martin Mwangi Njoki, among those listed in the suit, raised issue with one of the vehicles, but only after the Japanese firm attempted to repossess the bus.
The Toyota subsidiary says some of the buyers are trying to use the suit to evade repossession of the buses after failing to honour the repayment terms agreed upon.
Mr Njoki, Mungai Kinuthia, Nancy Nyambura Githuku, Peter Kamau Ng’ang’a, Ruth Wangui Korio, Peter Maina Njuguna, Charles Njoroge Ng’ang’a, George Nguku Njihia, City Shuttle, Beauty Wholesale Limited and Chania Prestige Shuttle have sued Kebs, Toyota and its subsidiaries—Tsusho and Nairobi Hino Limited.
They claim that Toyota took the 45 vehicles in dispute for repairs but is yet to release them owing to lack of replacement parts. Despite the grounding of the vehicles Tsusho has threatened to repossess the buses for default in payment which was to be done through revenue earned from the buses, the plaintiffs say.
“The gravamen of the plaintiff’s allegations, being the purported mechanical defects are matters which Tsusho is not responsible for, at all. The plaintiffs cannot be allowed to retain the commercial benefits of the said vehicles and at the same time seek to be allowed not to be bound by their respective financial arrangements relating to the said vehicles,” Tsusho says.
The firm adds that Mr Njoki, the lead plaintiff, went to the extent of disabling the tracking device in the bus he purchased before hiding it in Nairobi’s Githurai area to avoid repossession. Mr Njoki had said the vehicle was undergoing repairs following an accident caused by the mechanical defects.
“Tsusho commenced investigations through private investigators to trace the vehicle and discovered the said vehicle in Githurai where it was undergoing repairs.
Tsusho now says that it had no role in marketing or sale of the vehicles and is only seeking to recover what it is owed by some of the plaintiffs who have defaulted on payment terms agreed on during purchase.
Tsusho says it bought the buses from Toyota then sold them to the suing buyers through an instalment payment plan.
“The orders sought if granted will have the effect of prompting all customers financed by Tsusho not to honour their financial obligations even if they are not affected in the manner alleged by the plaintiffs herein,” Tsusho Kenya MD Takashi Yamaguchi says.