Toyota targeted in a collective suit

The notorious cable that wears out prematurely under Toyota RAV4 Hybrids and RAV4 Prime cars could find itself at the center of a lawsuit.

Posted at 6:30 a.m.

A class action application was filed in Montreal by a motorist who wanted $7,000 in repairs payments and $300 in punitive damages. Compensatory damages are also claimed, the amount of which will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

At the moment, it is impossible to calculate how much Toyota can pay in this case.

According to demand led by Adams Avocats, 43,000 Toyota RAV4 Hybrids and RAV4 Primes were sold in Canada from 2019 to 2021, the years the class action will cover. Of these, 11,000 detainees were found in Quebec. But it is not known what percentage is affected by the mysterious problem that can cause a breakdown. And in some cases, cable replacement costs are paid for through the warranty.

Owners of these iconic cars grew anxious last winter as testimonials spread on Facebook.

To date, the private group “Towards RAV4 Hybrid / Prime Poster” has more than 2,000 members. A petition calling for this has collected 2,600 signatures.

Despite this public pressure and reports on the subject from one end of the country to the other, Toyota has not made any announcement.

This collective action request was coveted, Presidential Judge of the Automobile Protection Association (APA), George Ene. Because Toyota, which has been aware of the problem since 2020, “publicly decided not to pay”, as well as showing “several flaws in its management”.

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

It is equivalent to an extension cord for your mower. It’s not $4,500, but $500. That’s the price for a specific car engine $4,500!

George Ene, President of APA

In April, I wrote a story by Jean-Thomas Landry1, the person who created the Facebook group. His 28-month-old car broke down last January. He was horrified when he found out that he would have to pay out of his pocket to replace the corroded cable. The cost of the operation: 6800 dollars.

Because according to Toyota, the high-voltage wires are not part of the RAV4’s “component hybrid”, which is covered for 96 months or 160,000 kilometers. Rather, the warranty expires after 36 months or 60,000 km. For him, it was too late.

Photo provided by Jean Thomas Landry

Corroded cable under the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid by Jean Thomas Landry

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

In April 2022, he heard about the radio corrosion problem. That’s when it calls out the “hybrid faulty” warning that appeared on the dashboard in January. Then he contacted his dealer, in Laval, where we moved on to “Diagnostics of the electrical system and the ‘Y6’ connection of the hybrid system”.

“Were it not for media coverage of this case, the plaintiff would not have known which search would have been requested during his interview and the attorney would not have suggested that he do so,” the class action says.

You guessed it, make sure his cable is frayed. But the verdict falls at the beginning of May: the replacement cannot be paid for with the guarantee … Expired since the end of April!

“Constantin Sultana complained before the end of the guarantee, I don’t understand, the lawyer leading the case, Freddy Adams, told me. We are talking about thousands of dollars. This is what is not true.”

The plaintiff did not do the repair. He continued to use his car, but very little, for fear of breaking down, according to the attorney.

A class action application is based on a statutory guarantee, under which the good must be usable for normal use for a reasonable period of time. There is also the issue of a hidden defect (Article 1726 of the Civil Code).

Attorney Freddy Adams hopes that the collective action “extends the warranty on this cable, because it is an integral part of the hybrid system. Besides, the hybrid system does not work without the cable.” This apparent discrepancy 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 quickly as possible. Because if it’s a vehicle design issue, the $4,500 cables may need to be changed frequently. The company must also demonstrate leadership and transparency in communicating with RAV4 owners…and the media. On Wednesday, my email went unheeded.

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