Wednesday, 21 October 2009

What price exclusivity?

So the production LF-A's just been shown at Tokyo. Plenty of stats to admire though the one I find most interesting (a sticking point for most); £330,000. And yet Toyota will still lose money on each if R&D costs are factored in.

Now why, I hear you ask, did they artificially limit the production run to 500. When they could have let the market absorb as many as it cared to and in turn, potentially given them back a bit more of the money they invested.

Simple: there are some for whom the very fact the that there'll only ever be 500 will be a selling point.

I asked a friend of mine once what car they guessed I'd have when I was a little bit older and I wasn't a debt-ridden student. Though they didn't name a specific car, they suggested it'd be something a little left-field. I agree with them.

I've always been taken in by the idea of owning a VW Phaeton or a Renault Vel Satis. Cars that were essentially sound propositions but suffered for people feeling they cost more than their badges were worth.

The same prejudice will be a handicap for the LF-A [and the Hyundai Equus], however much they may be statements from their respective manufacturers. From Hyundai that they can make cars every bit as good as BMW and Mercedes, and Lexus, that they can manufacture a car that can comfortably duel Ferraris and Lamborghinis.

I don't think having something could be made more satisfying purely by not many other people having it. Far more smugness-inducing to have spotted a gem that slipped under everyone else's noses.

So I would probably buy the LF-A, if I had the money, but the extra cash I'd fork out would be to demonstrate 'individuality' in my consumerism, though not, unlike some, just to secure 'exclusivity'.

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