Toyota, the world’s second largest vehicle maker, have been asked by the US counterterror officials to help them to know how so many Toyota pick-ups are seen prominently in the ISIS’s propaganda videos in Syria, Libya and Iraqi, ABC News has learned.
Toyota in response said that it does not know how the terror group managed to have their vehicle. The company also said that it will support every effort by the US Terror Financing unit of the Treasury Department.
“We informed Treasury on our vehicle supply chains in the Middle East and the process that Toyota has in place to keep supply chain integrity,” said Lewis, Toyota’s Washington-based manager of public policy and communications.
“Toyota has very strict policy not to sell autos to potential purchaser who intends to modify them or use them for terrorist activities”, said Lewis. He added that it is hard for the Toyota company to track cars that have been bought and resold or have been stolen.
Toyota Hilux pickups and Toyota Land Cruisers have been common in ISIS campaign videos in Libya, Syria and Iraq. These vehicles are always seen with many terrorist and loaded with heavy weapons. Luke Faily, The Iraqi Ambassador to the US, said that he believes that ISIS has managed to acquire many “brand new” Toyota vehicles in the recent years.
Questions about the Toyota vehicles by ISIS have circulated for many years. In 2014, Public Radio International reported that the US. State Department gave 43 Toyota vehicles to Syrian rebels. In another report, Australia newspaper said that more than 800 trucks were missing in Sidney in 2014 and 2015, and added that terror experts speculated that the cars were sold to ISIS.
Any efforts to trace how the Toyota vehicles end up in the hands of ISIS have proven difficult to Iraq and US officials.
The US official told ABC News that time is not ripe for them to comment publically about their engagement with certain private firm. But in answer to questions about Toyota Company, they said that investigations are underway,