Obsessions are a menace. The daughter of a friend had a shower obsession. “I have an obsessive compulsive disorder,” she would readily admit, only to continue: “I’ll be right back, I need to take a shower.” Such a pretty girl. And she always smelled so good.
A prime obsession of the auto blogosphere are the sales of the Lexus LFA. Is it sold out? Is it not?
(To avoid killing you with the suspense: It is. Has been since April 2010 when Lexus had its 500 orders long before production started in December of that year. Not interesting? I don’t blame you. Stop reading. There is plenty of other content.)
I encountered this manifestation of automotive OCD during the writing of the story about the LFA production. Before the series could even start, I was taken to task over the claim that all 500 LFA are spoken for. Somewhat shrill comments stated they aren’t. Proof presented ranged from eBay links to the counting of LFAs at carshows.
Further research revealed that there is a veritable epidemic of this disorder.
In May last year, Motor Authority, “the luxury and performance leader” of the High Gear family, complained that “only 90 LFAs have been built to date for worldwide sales.” Motor Authority needed to be reminded by Lexus that there had been something called an earthquake and a tsunami (it had brought production of all cars in Japan to a multi-month halt, and turned the Japanese car market into the worst since decades). Like an obstreperous child, Motor Authority continued to write that the LFA “is barely selling at all.”
A month ago, the Detroit Bureau delivered a dissenting view, writing that the LFA is “sold out – almost.” That piece of investigative journalism was picked up eagerly by other automotive media who’s idea of investigative journalism starts with Ctrl-C and ends with Ctrl-V.
To this day, the disorder is keeping discussion pages at Motortrend going. One commenter cited the fact that this discussion only has 12 pages as proof of the underwhelming success of the LFA. After all, “a year ago, a troll thread with LFA in the title would be over 100 pages or locked by now.” (This is your brain on Facebook and Twitter.)
There is one sure-fire cure for this particular kind of OCD: Call and ask.
Don’t call someone at Toyota Motor Sales in the U.S. They will only know their numbers. You need to invest a few dollars into 011-81 and call Toyota HQ in Japan if you want the global view.
After they had done a few days of research, I was told officially and in writing that the LFA was sold out before production started in late 2010. The 500-unit order limit was reached in April 2010, “there even was a waiting list,” says Lexus International head spokesman Hideaki Homma.
The LFA is built to order, something a customer in Europe or Japan will readily understand: You place an order, they build it for you. In the color and with any special wishes you have specified. This may sound alien to someone who picks a car from a dealer lot, this may sound super alien to someone who orders his supercars from Pimp My Supercar V2, but it is what it is.
Armed with that nugget of wisdom, it becomes clear that all 500 can be spoken for, even if some are still being made. Sometimes, it takes a certain degree of maturity to appreciate the fact that “signed, sealed, delivered” can be many months apart.
And what about the handful of LFAs that pop up on eBay? This is something Lexus is not eager to talk about. Not because it reflects badly on them. From placing an order in early 2010 to today is a long time, and a few former high-flyers have fallen on tough times. If people default on mansions, not picking up your supercar when it has arrived is conceivable.
That, however, is a sad and boring story, and why let a phone call get in the way of intrigue and innuendo?