2008 Toyota Prius

2008 Toyota Prius

The success of the Toyota Prius has spurred a backlash against big gas-guzzling SUVs--but now the Prius itself might be the victim of a backlash in some California towns.

Since the spring, some California Prius owners have seen their cars subject to vandalism and arson, according to local reports. In April, in the north Bay Area town of Petaluma, at least seven Priuses were attacked with a hammer, at night, while they were parked at their owners' homes. One owner was woken up by the noise of a hammer smashing her Prius' windshield.

More recently, according to Edmunds' Inside Line Web site, a Prius was burned on the streets of Los Angeles. The car's owner heard it explode in the early morning and went outside to find her car on fire. Investigators said it was the work of an arsonist.