The wiring in cars used to be coated in a petroleum-based plastic, but recently automakers, including Hyundai, have switched to a soy-based material. The soy is biodegradable and helps keep plastic out of the landfill, which may have attracted eco-friendly attention.
The problem is it also grabbed the attention of rodents, who use the chew the material and often use the scraps for nests.
The Soy-Based Lawsuit
Hyundai was sued for using soy-based wire insulation by a group representing 2013-2016 Hyundai Veloster, Accent, Azera, Elantra, Equus, Genesis Coupe, Santa Fe, Sonata and Tuscon owners purchased or leased in California.
The case, Michelle Martinez v. Hyundai Motor America, Inc., argues that when an owner takes their vehicle in for repairs due to the chewed wires, the gnawed materials are replaced with more soy-based materials. A vicious ciricle ensues, and owners can spend thousands of dollars just keeping their cars running.
The plaintiff says rodents chew on numerous parts of Hyundai vehicles, including the hood insulation, battery wiring assembly and harness, filter assembly for the engine, wiring assembly and battery shims.