Squirrels Destroy Toyota
A motorist from Croydon, South London, has blamed repeated repair bills for his Toyota Aygo on an influx of squirrels. Tony Steeles claims the rodents have repeatedly gnawed through parts on his brand new car, which retails at £7,995.
Mr Steeles says within days of delivery of the car, his aerial was chewed off twice, his oxygen sensor damaged and rubber trim gnawed. Somewhat oddly, no other cars on the road have been affected and Tony suspects that Toyota’s pioneering use of plant-based plastics during the manufacture of the Aygo could be to blame. The Japanese manufacturer uses plastics derived from castor oil plants to make door trims, seat cushions, spare tyre covers and boot liners.
Mr Steele’s local dealer, Jemca Croydon, argued that there was no link between the car’s plastics and the squirrel attacks. However, the dealership agreed to pay for the repairs and eventually swapped the Aygo for a Yaris.
A Toyota spokesman told Auto Express that Mr Steele’s predicament was strange and usual but ultimately concluded, “We have very few complaints of this occurring in UK. It is known that this issue can occur to plastic parts regardless of whether they are derived from plant material or not. Toyota continues to utilise ‘bio-plastics’ for a number of applications in its cars, due to the benefit it has in lowering the carbon impact of production.”
Of his brand-spanking new Yaris, Steele said: “I keep my car in the garage now, and it’s a bit inconvenient to do that, but that way I can be sure it won’t happen again.”
The Aygo – a city car that’s been on the market since 2006 – was famously used on the BBC’s Top Gear programme in a giant football match to showcase its manoeuvrability.