U.S. presses Toyota over how Islamic State got its truck fleet

AP, Kyodo

Toyota has spoken with U.S. officials about the prominent use of its vehicles by militants in Syria, Iraq and Libya.

“We are supporting the U.S. Treasury Department’s broader inquiry into international supply chains and the flow of capital and goods in the Middle East,” Toyota spokeswoman Amanda Rice told Kyodo News.

Toyota trucks are conspicuous in extremist propaganda and are often what carry Islamic State group fighters to war, some with large caliber weapons affixed to truck beds.

The company says it prohibits sales to anyone who might modify them for paramilitary or terrorist activities.

There are procedures in place to prevent vehicles from being diverted for unauthorized military use, but Toyota says it is impossible to control channels through which vehicles may be misappropriated or resold by third parties.

The Treasury Department’s Terrorism and Financial Intelligence wing monitors monetary transfers and the flow of goods that could aid militants, but the department declined comment on any ongoing inquiry Wednesday.

The militant group’s propaganda videos show the terrorists driving a combination of older and newer models and the U.S. believes the Islamic State has recently obtained “hundreds of brand new” Toyota vehicles, U.S. broadcaster ABC News said.

The company’s sales operations in Syria ceased in 2012 and regional Toyota distributors do not know how the Islamic State acquired the vehicles, according to the network.

Vehicles from other automakers have been featured in the videos, such as those from Hyundai Motor Co. and Isuzu Motors Ltd., the report said, but the Toyota models have become “fixtures” for the Islamic State.

When the Islamic State paraded through the northern Syrian city of Raqqa, more than two-thirds of the vehicles in the convoy appeared to be from Toyota, the broadcaster reported.

Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Mark Wallace, who currently heads an organization that studies the financial networks of terrorists, told ABC News that the vehicles “have effectively become almost part of the ISIS brand.”

Wallace told the network that the Toyota vehicles are seen in almost every Islamic State propaganda video and that his group urged the company earlier this year to do more in tracking how terrorists acquire their vehicles.

  • Sean Wheeler

    Perhaps it’s just a little warning smear from the US Military Industrial Complex on Japan for not joining the US led Coalition efforts in Syria? Any way, it’s pretty obvious by now that these pristine ISIS photos and moves that are designed to enrage Westerners to engage in the ISIS war…are planned…intentional…and pour money into the coffers of the Weapons/Arms manufacturers…is it not? Perhaps there’s a clue.

    • Gerardo Gallo

      Mr. Obama, after the war to Volkswagen, you want to make war at Toyota?

      • R0ninX3ph

        ^ Wut?

  • Paul Johnny Lynn

    While I agree there’s a question as to how Daesh manage to get hold of so many brand new vehicles, I doubt Toyota itself could be held responsible. Is the U.S. going to question Kalashnikov as well?

  • keratomileusis

    And how, pray tell, did ISIS get all those guns and rocket launchers, dear USA, great dispenser of truth and justice in the world?

    • Dana W

      Most of the weapons in that picture are Russian.

  • Gerardo Gallo

    for once we do not want to talk politics. Let’s talk about mechanics and respect for the environment. Everyone knows how much fuel consuming American cars, everyone knows that some manufacturers do not respect the environment. Everyone knows how a difficult territory can challenge the reliability of any engine. If we add these parameters, the choice could only be Toyota. But unfortunately, as we all know, the envy is a bad disease

    • R0ninX3ph

      Are you suggesting that the US is lying that ISIS is using Toyota vehicles to improve sales of US produced cars? Really? Tinfoilhat much?

  • Don Corleone

    They probably got them as part of a package deal with the Pentagon.

  • Dana W

    Everybody in this photo has Russian weapons. Just so you know. Not American ones.

  • Viktor Z

    The desperate and incompetent Americans are searching for a Jew :)

  • Clickonthewhatnow

    If Toyota wanted to directly provide them with vehicles, it would probably be the aptly named Toyota Isis from Japan. That being said, ISIS getting around in vehicles is not the problem, if it were not Toyota it’d be another car brand, why isn’t the US bothering to pressure whoever provided them with weapons?

  • rupertmja

    I doubt Japan sent them directly to ISIS. The questions is how did ISIS get all those military Humvees, tanks, field guns, and associated weapons. And given that they all have GPS, how come they haven’t been destroyed yet? And who is buying their cheap oil to fund all this?

  • Observer

    Put lojacks in them and track large gatherings. Then send in a couple of A-10’s.