Electric Car Enthusiasts Protest at Toyota's California HdQ

Lessees complain that closed-end leases are keeping them from buying their vehicles, taken off the market in 2003.

Published: 02-Jun-2005

Electric-vehicle owner Howard Stein took off a day of work to protest Toyota Motor Co.'s refusal to sell him the RAV4 EV model that his wife drives.

As Stein stood in front of Toyota's U.S. sales headquarters in Torrance Wednesday morning, he and about a dozen fellow electric-vehicle owners demanded that the company allow leaseholders to buy their RAV4 EVs.

Toyota plans to reclaim 462 RAV4 EVs issued under a closed-end lease, which blocks the lessee from buying the vehicle. Toyota says the vehicles were prototype models leased in bulk to corporate clients such as Southern California Edison through a "fleet-leasing" program, with the intention that they would return to Toyota for a re-evaluation.


2006 model introduces slight styling changes, additional safety equipment and added amenity options including leather seats.

Toyota engineers demonstrated the steering controls in the 180-kg unit, which can reach speeds of up to 50 kph.

By the end of October, the largest Japanese automaker said, its worldwide hybrid vehicle sales totaled about 513,000 units.


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