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Yulon's Tobe car unable to drive in reverse

News of defects continue to plague Yulon Motor Co.'s model, the Tobe, with the latest incident involving a Yilan County woman who was unable to drive her brand-new car in reverse.

The woman, surnamed Yen, reportedly put the NT$475,000 car in reverse and stepped on the pedal when the Tobe suddenly lunged forward — much to the shock, and anger, of the driver.

The report comes after the Taiwan carmaker recalled 540 Tobes, after a driver complained of a wheel falling off over a week ago.

Steven Lo, Yulon's senior manager for the Tobe brand, said he was surprised by the faulty reverse function and was quick to categorize it as an isolated event. The incident was “the first time this has happened to our knowledge,” Lou told The China Post in a phone interview yesterday.

“There are a number of reasons why a car cannot backup, much like there are many reasons why a button falls off a shirt — you could have tugged it the wrong way or it may just have been poorly sewn on. That's what we're trying to figure out,” he said.

Although inspection has yet to yield conclusive results, Yulon is currently looking into every complaint and will change any car parts that prove defective, Lo added.

Inspections on all 540 recalled cars will be done by August 20, with each repaired Tobe returned to owners on a case-by-case basis through personal appointments.

In response to complaints of malfunctioning in-car video systems — with constant screen blackouts preventing the use of the DVD systems and rear-view cameras — Lo said these issues fall under Yulon's “Extra Services Center,” the technical department of which is currently investigating the matter.

Lo admitted that there has been damage to Tobe's image, but he is hopeful consumers — even those who have not purchased Tobes — will slowly regain their trust in the brand due to the company's swift response to recall.

Despite current reports, Yulon claimed that the Tobe had undergone strict safety tests and passed.

The Tobe, launched in April, is the product of collaboration between Taiwanese and Chinese carmakers. Yulon has sold 540 Tobes — all of which have been recalled — with pending orders for 1,500 more.

Priced at less than NT$500,000 each, the car was created as a revamped model of the Panda car by China's Geely Automobile. In the past, Lo said Yulon has exported 150 Tobes to Vietnam and had its eye on entering the markets of other Southeast Asian countries.

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