About 20 people took part in a protest at Toyota of Santa Monica on Lincoln Boulevard last Saturday afternoon, demanding that Toyota stop crushing its electric cars.
Organized by DontCrush.com, the clean car group whose recent protest against General Motors made national headlines, the Saturday protest came on heels of a press conference at Toyota’s Torrance headquarters at which the group reiterated its demand that the car maker stop destroying the popular cars.
Electric Vehicle (EV) driver and actress Alexandra Paul, who was arrested during the group’s General Motors protest, took part in the Saturday rally.
Toyota sold a small number of its RAV4 EVs to clean air advocates like Paul in compliance with California’s Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) mandate, but the company now refuses to allow hundreds of RAV4 leaseholders to purchase the cars.
“DontCrush.com is holding weekly protests at Toyota dealerships across the state to bring this egregious behavior to the attention of the public,” said Paul Scott, a DontCrush.com organizer and Santa Monica resident. “We want people to know that Toyota should stop this practice and sell the cars to hundreds of willing buyers.”
DontCrush.com member Linda Nicholes of Anaheim Hills has leased a RAV4 EV for three and a half years, but Toyota refuses to sell it to her. “Apparently, they’d prefer to hook us up to the gas pump again,” said Nicholes, one of several RAV EV drivers at the Torrance press conference.
In a letter read that day, Senator Sheila Kuehl wrote that she “most respectfully requests [that] Toyota re-evaluate the systematic destruction of existing Electric Vehicles.”
Dozens of RAV4 EV leaseholders have repeatedly requested the right to purchase their cars. But Toyota has flatly refused, though every RAV4 that Toyota put on the market has sold. Toyota also refused to meet and discuss the matter with DontCrush.com members.
“We hope that the car companies listen to their consumers to keep up with the demand,” said Andy Weisser, spokesman for the American Lung Association of California.
The demand for clean cars has exceeded the supply for some time, making waiting lists the rule, and clean car owners have been offered well over what they paid by eager would-be buyers.
DontCrush.com is a coalition of RAV4 EV drivers, former Honda EV+, GM EV1, and Ford Th!nk City leassees, and clean air and energy independence advocates. It is supported by American Lung Assn., the Sierra Club, Rainforest Action Network, Global Exchange, Bluewater Network, Earth Resource Foundation, and the nonprofit Electric Auto Assn.
It plans to hold another protest at Toyota of Santa Monica. 801 Santa Monica Boulevard, next Saturday from 1 to 3 p.m.For more information on DontCrush.com, go to www.dontcrush.com.