A recent accident caused by a flaw in a Land Cruiser's cruise control system could have caused a huge humanitarian catastrophe were it not for the kindness of the Almighty and the actions of traffic policemen.
In the wake of this incident in Hafr Al-Batin, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry emphasized that car dealers in the Kingdom would be responsible for any defects in design or manufacture as a result of non-compliance with Saudi specifications and measurements.
The ministry called on those affected by this defect to call it. Furthermore, Saudi Arabia's Consumer Protection Association (CPA) published a statement in which it called on all people affected by this particular issue to get in touch with the society in order to file their complaints.
In its statement, the CPA clarified that it had earlier addressed some car dealers in Saudi Arabia with regard to previous incidents caused by defects in cruise control systems.
On the other hand, car dealers denied that these cars were imported by them. They claimed these cars were either imported directly by the users or modified internally.
Yet it is clear that such defects and flaws in cars threaten lives of people and also the state's capabilities. Therefore, safeguarding the lives of people is one of the five necessities that are confirmed in Divine law. Because of that, the society was established to take care of consumers and to defend them by taking up their cases and addressing the concerned bodies on behalf of consumers.
In line with this mandate, the CPA has called on all people hurt by this particular defect in their cars or other defects to contact its legal administration.
To assure consumers, the CPA has said it will study all cases and then go to court to defend consumers' rights. In case defects are caused by car dealers in the Kingdom, the CPA would expose the issue before the media.
In this case, it would reveal measures taken and the level of cooperation by car dealers. The CPA's statement hoped that all car dealers in the Kingdom reveal any defaults and recall affected vehicles. It also called on car dealers to shoulder their responsibilities toward the country such as educating and guiding people and launch a maintenance campaign. Even cars sold or imported outside the dealership should be included.
The head of the human rights committee at the Shoura Council, Dr. Mish'al Al-Ali, blamed car dealers for defects in cruise control systems after incidents related to faults in recently manufactured cars.
"Saudi car dealers should not import any product without making sure that it is safe. Car dealers are responsible for any car they import. Also they have to ascertain the reputation of companies with which they deal," said Al-Ali.
He added that a car dealer or a merchant should stand with citizens against the manufacturing company.
Commenting on the role of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Al-Ali said the ministry was in charge of the system and would not show hesitancy in dealing with this rather important issue.
The statement of the CPA coupled with Al-Ali's opinion came as a response to Japanese carmaker Toyota's local agent Abdul Latif Jameel (ALJ), who issued a statement confirming the safety of cruise control systems in Land Cruisers.
ALJ claimed that there was no vehicle sold by the company that was affected by such defects.
He stressed the safety of customers was a red line that could not be crossed under any circumstances.
Commenting on the Land Cruiser accident in Hafr Al-Batin that occurred after the vehicle’s cruise control malfunctioned, the statement said the car was not imported by ALJ but by another dealer in Riyadh who had imported it from a Gulf country.
Othman Al-Urabi, executive director for maintenance at ALJ, said his company would test the car. He said Land Cruiser are top sellers in the Kingdom and has not had a single accident caused by defective cruise control systems.