Toyota in the crosshairs of a class action lawsuit

Toyota investigates corroded wiring on its RAV4 hybrids

Finally, some hope for owners of RAV4 hybrids made between 2019 and 2021, those whose $6,000+ high-voltage cable corrodes prematurely. After months of “cablegate” and negative media coverage, Toyota now agrees to change the part at its own expense to further its investigation.

Posted at 6:30 am

Toyota hasn’t announced any recalls or warranty enhancements for its RAV4 hybrids, but at least things are starting to move.

“To continue the ongoing investigation, we are recalling and replacing the affected parts through our dealers,” Toyota spokesman Philippe Crowe wrote to me. These replacements are made “at no cost to the customer”.

This makes a big difference, because motorists have found themselves with bills approaching $7,000. The piece alone was selling for $4,476 plus tax when I told this story last spring.

Toyota has not officially announced the news to the general public.

But the rumor spread quickly in the last few hours on the Facebook page “Toyota CABLEGATE (Rav4 Hybrid & Rav4 Prime)”, which has around 5,000 members. That’s a lot, but given the huge popularity of the vehicle, certainly not everyone involved is aware of this development. So hopefully the dealers had clear guidelines.

Once the information was posted on Facebook, some owners were quick to call their dealer for more information. They got confirmation that the cable change would be free if and only if an alarm on the dash indicates that the hybrid system is faulty.

Those who want to install a new cable as a preventive measure, to avoid breakdowns, will have to go through the trouble patiently, it seems. It is also not known if owners who have already paid the bill will be reimbursed. Toyota did not respond to my questions as this case is “currently before the courts.”

In May, Adams Avocat of Montreal filed a class action petition. The Association for the Protection of Motorists (APA) was delighted, because Toyota “openly decided not to pay” although the problem has been known since 2020, its president, George Iny, commented at the time. He also denounced the “highly inflated” price of the part, which is similar to an extension cord for a lawnmower and shouldn’t sell for more than $500.

This class action request, which has not yet been heard by the Court, was modified this week to include other vehicles that have the same type of cable. These are the 2020-2022 Highlander Hybrids, 2019-2022 Prius AWD, 2021-2022 Venza Hybrids, as well as the 2022 Lexus NX350h Hybrid and NX450h Plug-in Hybrid.

Additionally, Adams Avocat is now seeking punitive damages of $1,000 instead of $300. Because the lawyer in charge of the case, Fredy Adams, judges that the responses provided by Toyota and its dealers to motorists are “frustrating” and “do not correspond” to the value of the cars in question. “When you buy a car for $40,000, you expect better service. It’s not professional,” he said.


PHOTO PROVIDED BY JEAN-THOMAS LANDRY

Corroded wire under a Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

The fact that Toyota is now replacing the cables at its expense responds to one of Adams Avocat’s requests. But that won’t minimize the chances of the class action suit being upheld, Ms.me Adams, as he also claims extended warranty, reimbursement of costs already paid by certain RAV4 owners, and punitive damages.

In fact, even if Toyota replaces certain wires for free, it doesn’t solve everything. Who says the new part won’t corrode in turn?

In a report on “cablegate” broadcast in September by The invoice, on Radio-Canada, a mechanic said Toyota’s modification of the part on the latest models isn’t even enough. The proof: you still see corrosion!

Nothing to reassure RAV4 hybrid owners… both current and future.

Especially since there are a good number of unanswered questions about future models. Will they have the same problem? Will they be better protected by warranty?

Until now, the lack of information has caused a lot of uncertainty and stress. Some people have sold their vehicle, others are afraid to use it. A practically new vehicle should rather provide peace of mind.


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