I already told you that today is not the official launch. Highly out of the ordinary at Toyota. Usually, when the members of the media are invited, the car goes on sale. Not in this case. In Japan, the car will be in dealers’ showrooms in April, I hear. Nonetheless, if I want one right away, I better hustle down to my neighborhood Toyota dealer and place an order now.
The car is made at Subaru’s Gunma Manufacturing Division, 1,000 per month. Currently, there are more than 3,000 pre-orders, I better take a number. “But when will the car arrive in the U.S.?“ is what you and I want to know. “Not decided yet,” is the official answer.
Privately, I hear that the car should arrive in America, “sometime in summer.” It will be many hot months before Jack Baruth knows whether he is amongst the chosen 86.
Later, I question hachi-roku Chief Engineer Tetsuya Tada, about the U.S. launch date. No answer. Then, a possible hint.
It soon becomes evident that Toyota is really in love with everything 86. The car will be exported to 86 countries, Tada says. Later, we discuss an electronic gizmo Tada dreamt up (to be covered in the next installment,) and I ask Tada whether the gizmo will be available before the car arrives in the U.S.
“Oh, I expect it will be ready by August 6,” says Tada.
I ask him whether that day has a special importance.
“It is an eight and a six,” says Tada with a sibyllinic smile.
Later in the evening, I receive a phone call from Toyota, saying that I shouldn’t take the 86 countries at face value, it might be a different number. What about August 6, I ask. “Let’s not even go there,” is the answer. Oh, the incertitude!