Toyota in the crosshairs of a class action lawsuit

Toyota in the crosshairs of a class action lawsuit

The famous wire that corrodes prematurely under the Toyota RAV4 and RAV4 Prime hybrids could find itself at the center of a lawsuit.

A class action petition has been filed in Montreal by a motorist seeking a repair payment of $7,000 and punitive damages of $300. Compensatory damages are also claimed, the amount of which would be determined on a case-by-case basis.

At the moment, it is impossible to calculate the amount that Toyota might have to pay in this case.

According to the request led by the firm Adams Avocats, 43,000 Toyota RAV4 and RAV4 Prime hybrids were sold in Canada from 2019 to 2021, years that would be covered by the class action lawsuit. Of these, 11,000 have found buyers in Quebec. But it is not known what proportion is affected by the mysterious problem that can cause a breakdown. And in some cases, the warranty paid for cable replacement.

The concern of the owners of these renowned vehicles grew last winter with the proliferation of testimonials on Facebook.

To date, the private group “Towards a Rav4 Hybrid/Prime booster” has more than 2,000 members. A petition demanding the same has collected 2,600 signatures.

Despite this popular pressure and reports from one end of the country to the other, Toyota has not made any announcements.

This request for collective action was desirable, judges the president of the Association for the protection of motorists (APA), George Iny. Because Toyota, which has known about the problem since 2020, “openly decided not to pay”, in addition to having demonstrated “several failures in its management”.

Mr. Iny believes that Toyota should have lowered the “highly inflated” price of the part to alleviate the problem.

It is the equivalent of an extension cord for your lawn mower. It is not worth $4500, but $500. This is the price, $4500, of the engine of certain vehicles!

In April, he had written the story of Jean-Thomas Landryone, the one who created the Facebook group. His 28-month-old vehicle broke down last January. He was horrified to discover that he would have to pay out of pocket to replace the corroded cable. Cost of the operation: $6800.

Because according to Toyota, the high-voltage wiring is not part of the “hybrid components” of the RAV4, covered for 96 months or 160,000 kilometers. Rather, the warranty ends after 36 months or 60,000 km. For him, it was too late.


Corroded wire under Jean-Thomas Landry’s Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

Much the same scenario for the plaintiff in this class action lawsuit, Constantin Sultana. He bought his RAV4 new in April 2019.

In April 2022, he learns about the corrosion problem on the radio. That’s when he makes the connection to the “faulty hybrid” warning that appeared on his dashboard in January. He then contacted his dealer, in Laval, where he proceeded to “diagnosis of the electrical system and the connection “Y6” of the hybrid system”.

“Without the media coverage of this issue, the plaintiff would not have known which inspection to request during his interview and the dealership would not have suggested that he do so,” the class action lawsuit says.

You guessed it, its cable is confirmed to be corroded. But the verdict falls at the beginning of May: the replacement can not be paid by the guarantee… expired since the end of April!

“Constantin Sultana complained before the warranty expired, I don’t understand,” the lawyer handling the case, Fredy Adams, told me. We are talking thousands of dollars. That is what is not correct. »

The plaintiff did not make the repair. He continues to use his vehicle, but very little, for fear of it breaking down, the attorney reports.

The class action request is based on the legal guarantee, according to which a property must be able to be used for normal use for a reasonable period of time. There is also the issue of hidden vice (article 1726 of the Civil Code).

Attorney Fredy Adams hopes the class action will “extend the warranty on this cable as it is an integral part of the hybrid system. Also, the hybrid system doesn’t work without the cable.” This apparent inconsistency is precisely one of the biggest sources of frustration for RAV4 owners who are members of the Facebook group.

Whatever happens, Toyota must determine the cause of the problem as soon as possible. Because if it’s a vehicle design issue, the $4500 cables may need to be changed repeatedly. The company must also demonstrate leadership and transparency in communication with RAV4 owners…and the media. On Wednesday, my email went unattended.

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