Miami’s abandoned new car stash

Does a brand new five-year-old Prius sound appealing? Well, then head south for Miami-Dade County where they’ve been keeping municipal cars as time capsules.

The south Florida metro county had around 300 vehicles purchased between 2006 and 2007 that went unused.  Many of there were Toyota Priuses.

A local Spanish-language television station discovered the 293 “abandoned” vehicles gathering rust in a county garage back in October.  Once officials in Miami-Dade County discovered the station’s investigation, they rushed to put as many vehicles as possible into the active fleet.  Since the end of last year, between 123 and 135 Priuses have entered county service.  Toyota introduced the third-generation of the Prius in 2009, so by the time these second-gen cars were hitting the Miami streets, even Toyota had moved on.

The Director of Corporate Services in Miami-Dade, Lester Sola, told El Nuevo Herald that the vehicles going into service are still under warranty.  That’s probably not a complete figure at least with the forgotten Priuses.  They all have sat out their entire factory-backed 3 year/36,000 mile basic warranty, and the 2006-2007 cars are coming to the end of their 5 year/60,000 mile drivetrain warranty.

It is likely that five years of zero use and south Florida heat has had some negative effects on the hybrid battery drivetrain.  Lucky for Miami-Dade, Toyota covers the hybrid components for 8 years/80,000 miles.

Today there are still some unwrapped 2007 Priuses at a Miami-Dade storage garage, as well as multiple other vehicles from this cache that have waited over half a decade to go into municipal service.  The reason why this happened is still unclear.  Carlos Alvarez was the mayor of Miami-Dade County during the period the vehicles were purchased.  He was removed from office in a March 2011 recall election because voters felt, among other reasons, that he had been behind multiple acts of misappropriation of funds.

The current Miami-Dade County mayor, Carlos Gimenez said that he would have more answers after his investigation into these brand-new-abandons concludes on Monday.  Until then, those who long for the days of mega real estate markets and when Amy Winehouse was more triumph than tragedy, then Miami-Dade may be able to put you in yesterday’s ride, today.

UPDATE: click here for the follow-up with the county’s explanation.


source: el Nuevo Hearld

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