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Little car defies the odds, still going strong at 1,000,000 km

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Pam Wright

Randy and Johanna Wells say it was the best $13,000 they ever spent.

In 2000, the couple bought a brand-new Echo from Bailey Toyota.

The compact car defied the odds and now, 18 years later, has surpassed 1,000,000 kilometres on the road.

“It runs very well,” said Randy Wells. “It sure doesn’t owe me anything.”

Only about 2% of all vehicles manufactured ever reach 400,000 km and an even tinier fraction make it to 800,000, according to U.S. data.

Reaching a million clicks is exceptionally rare.

Wells said regular maintenance has been key to the car’s longevity. In fact, he returned to the Sarnia dealership earlier this month when the Echo approached the milestone to share it with the entire service team.

Still, he says he’s a bit surprised because the car wasn’t known as a high-end vehicle. The Toyota Echo was launched in 2000 with a low base price and only ran through 2005.

“As long as you take care of your stuff it will take care of you,” he said.

Johanna Wells said she and her husband do a lot of driving on Walpole Island and shuttle family and friends where they need to go.

“The Echo has been to South Carolina, Quebec and northern Michigan, and a lot of other places,” she said.

The car recently travelled to Cape Crocker on the Bruce Peninsula. But exactly how many kilometres it’s now gone is unknown. The odometer froze at 999,999 and wouldn’t turn over again.

The tough little car is even used to snowplow their long driveway, Johanna Wells said.

“It goes through some pretty rough weather. But it holds it’s own.”

The Wells are big Toyota fans and have two others they purchased at the dealership: a 1991 4Runner and a 2013 Camry.

The 4Runner also has more than 500,000 kilometres on it, Randy Wells added.


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