By on May 16, 2012

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 …

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13 Comments on “Reader’s Rides: It’s Good To Be Akio Toyoda...”

  • avatar

    *Now* the LF-A makes sense! Akio Toyoda is a man who likes supercars, and he obviously can’t be seen driving a Ferrari or Lambo everywhere, so he had this thing built, and sold 499 other examples to justify it’s existence to the shareholders. I can respect that.

  • avatar

    As long as he tosses a bone to us pistonhead plebes (FR-S), I won’t begrudge the man his toys.

  • avatar

    If Lexus wants to be taken seriously, ahem, they must have a halo car. No, the SC didn’t even approach halo. The business case for the car is moot (not your point, I know)…Audi makes R8’s essentially by hand, same for Dodge w/ Vipers. You’re paying for that riotous response, and the LF-A fits the bill. Not usually a matte black fan, but it does smooth out a few of this car’s rougher edges nicely.

  • avatar

    ” dreaded Shaken sticker”
    sounds like a Japanese version of “cash for clunkers”.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      Yep, pretty much the same goal: lots of churn to keep new car sales going. Also has the side benefit of creating a healthy export business for lightly-used JDM machinery.

  • avatar

    “and my hands were shaken…”

    I love you man.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    I never realized how similar the LFA and the FR-S are from certain angles until now.

  • avatar

    The lady in the red shoes with the pink purse is saying “OMG look at that stupid scoop”. Other than that great car.

  • avatar

    Shaken is a real bitch. From ball joints to fan belts and windshield wipers, the car needs to be practically fault free. I knew a few Japanese who drove older cars and they all had “connections” to help them get a sticker.
    For us Gaijin it’s not even possible to argue that the nearly new tires don’t need replacing. Motorcycles get the same treatment, at least there are fewer items to worry about.

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