Today, I happened to be at Toyota’s Tokyo headquarters in order to personally get to the bottom of numbers nobody seems to care about. There was a minor riot in the usually zen-like lobby of 1-4-18 Koraku, Bunkyo-ku. TTAC was there to investigate …
Toyota employees, who usually pass the cars on display in the reception area without the slightest hesitation, rushed to a matte-black Lexus LFA parked near the entrance. One woman touched the car as if it was a sacred object.
Another man impulsively checked himself. It is hot again in Tokyo, and people start to perspire. “Do I also?” asked this man before he approached the black car.
The matte-black LFA looked like any other $375,000 supercar Lexus makes in Motomachi. Except …
This is a used car! A used car in Toyota’s holy halls? It looks new to you? Have a look at this:
Spend some time in Japan, and you will run into the dreaded Shaken sticker. Shaken is the third degree the Japanese government gives people’s cars after three years when the cars are new, and then every two, to make sure that the cars are in working order, allegedly. The examination is so expensive and so rigorous that many Japanese rather buy a new car, much to the joy of the Japanese car industry. Most Japanese prefer “pika-pika” (new and shiny) over “boro-boro” (old and tired) anyway.
Now, for some Shaken arcana. The Shaken sticker of the matte black LFA expires in December of the 25th year of the current Heisei period of Emperor Akihito. Heisei 25 equals 2013, deduct three years …. OMG, this car was registered in December of 2010!
This makes it one of the first cars of the very limited 500 car production run of the LFA. Production of the LFA started in December 2010. Who owns that rare used car?
Discreet inquiries produced the suggestion that the owner of the used car works at Toyota. It is Akio Toyoda, President of Toyota. The suspicion was confirmed when a polite lady approached the crowd, bowed, and said:
“Sumimasen, he needs his car back.”
PS: The image quality may not be up to TTAC standards. The pictures were taken with my cellphone, and my hands were shaken …