US probes why ISIS uses Toyota trucks – USA TODAY
Toyota’s trucks are popular in developing countries — apparently even with the terror group ISIS.
Toyota has issued a statement saying it’s going to cooperate with a U.S. inquiry into how relatively new Toyota Land Cruisers SUVs and Hilux pickups have been seen in convoys being run by the terror group in Iraq and Syria, Automotive News reports.
In the statement issued from Japan, Toyota said it is “impossible for automaker to control indirect or illegal channels” used by those who want their vehicles.
Automotive News says the reports are reaction to an ABC News report that the Treasury Department’s Terror Financing Unit is looking into how ISIS fighters were able to get their hands on so many Toyota vehicles. ISIS is also known as ISIL.
Toyota has long held large market shares in the developing world with its trucks for the same reason they have been popular in the U.S.: reliability and durability. The Hilux, smaller than the Tacoma and Tundra pickups that Toyota sells in the U.S., is a hit in areas where dirt roads and rough terrain prevails — and has been a favorite of military forces.
Toyota pickups with anti-aircraft guns or missile batteries mounted in the bed became a familiar sight during the Libyan civil war in 2011. Public Radio International reported that an industry developed around converting Toyota Land Cruisers or Hilux pickups to military use at one of Tripoli’s technical institutes during the fighting.
Nigeria’s military recently touted how it had received five Toyota trucks that will be pressed into service fighting insurgents in a region of the African nation.
Follow Chris Woodyard on Twitter at @ChrisWoodyard