DOMINATING CAR sales charts would normally trigger big bonuses, but not in parts of the Middle East. Toyota’s position as the unwitting vehicle manufacturer of choice for Isis has resulted in an American investigation of how the jihadist group has been able to get its hands on hundreds of Hilux and Land Cruiser 4x4s to use as mobile gun platforms and to transport AK-47-toting fanatics.
Propaganda videos produced by Isis frequently show fleets of Toyotas modified to carry rocket launchers and dripping with heavily armed militants.
“This is a question we’ve been asking our neighbours,” said Lukman Faily, the Iraqi ambassador to the United States, in an interview with ABC News. “How could these brand-new trucks… these four-wheel drives, hundreds of them — where are they coming from?”
Toyota denied selling the cars to Isis and said it was co-operating with the American investigation. “Toyota has a strict policy not to sell vehicles to potential purchasers who may use or modify them for paramilitary or terrorist activities,” it said.