There’s thinking ahead, and then there’s this: 293 vehicles bought by the south Florida metro county have sat unused for years in a Miami parking garage, according to a report from AutoMinded. Many of the vehicles are 2006 or 2007 model-year Toyota Prius models, still in the wrapping from when they were bought new roughly five years ago.
The vehicles were discovered by a local Spanish-language television station in October 2011. After Miami-Dade County officials learned of the station’s investigation, they quickly began placing as many of the abandoned vehicles into active duty as possible. At least 123 Prius models from the lot have now joined county fleets.
Miami-Dade County’s Director of Corporate Services Lester Sola told Spanish newspaper El Nuevo Herald the forgotten vehicles are still under warranty. While the 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty may still be intact for some Toyota vehicles, the factory 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty has likely expired.
It’s still unknown why so many fleet vehicles sat unused for so long, but according to AutoMinded, the mayor in office at the time of the vehicles’ purchase, Carlos Alvarez, was removed from office for suspicion of misappropriated county funds. Current mayor Carlos Gimenez is investigating the lost fleet, and says he’ll have more information next week.