Toyota owners sue the company after rats eat the engine
Rodents have expensive taste as it turns out
It's warm and cosy and scattered with healthy snacks - sounds like the perfect place to spend the night. Don't worry about the owner of the hotel, who won't be particularly happy tomorrow morning when he finds the air-conditioning no longer works. Or if it does work, a gust of dander and excrement.
Rodents nibbling at things they shouldn't in the engine bays of cars isn't new. But in the US, everything can be turned into a lawsuit and that's exactly what is happening with this too.
A few years ago - and without a word about it - the wiring insulation in the prestigious Toyota hotels was switched from vinyl-chloride to a more environmently-friendly soy-based material. This, to paraphrase the owners' complaints, is akin to leaving a cheese platter garnished with peanut butter in the shed and then wondering why rats and mice are eating it.
The Hotel Ratz
In 2018, the class-action was knocked back by the US Disctrict Court in California, as the new wiring insulation didn't classify as a "latent defect". Toyota's defence was that rats and mice have always been pests and it's a fact of life that they will also act like pests.
The plaintiffs refuse to be defeated and have now taken up their case with the Court of Appeals. The former ruling hasn't been revoked, but they do agree that it's no good blaming animals for eating something with a vegetable in it.
This makes it a defect at the time of purchase even if the damage occured later. This could end up being quite a big deal as Toyota isn't the only one to use this stuff for wiring insulation. Whether anyone admits this remains to be seen.
In the meantime, an environmentally-friendly solution requires a not-so environmentally-friendly solution - rat traps. And comprehensive insurance.