If you were the Emperor, involved in making big business deals, or if people handed you their fingers as a costly offering for a 'mistake', chances are you were chauffered around in a Toyota Century.
Yes, the Toyota Century is a true status symbol of a luxury automobile that's fit for powerful officials, royalty, big business, and 'shady' organizations in the land of the rising sun. And now they've got a new model, one that Toyota displayed for the world to see at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show.
At that world premiere, Toyota didn't disclose any prices for their flagship, full-size, ultra luxury saloon that now comes powered by a two-motor, hybrid V8 with a combined output of 430 horsepower.
Now that price is out for the Japanese market: the hand-made Century starts at a cool 19,600,000 yen.
Under current exchange rates, that's about USD 179,000 or about PHP 9.6 million. And Toyota aims to sell about 50 of these ultra luxury saloons every month. And the entire production run for 2018 has been spoken for.
To put that in perspective, a top-of-the-line 2018 Lexus LS500h Executive AWD costs 16,800,000 yen (about PhP 8.2 million) in Japan. The Philippine-spec non-hybrid 2018 Lexus LS 500 that AutoIndustriya.com reviewed cost PhP 8,908,000.
Compared to local luxury saloon prices it's not too bad, but mind you, that's Japan's price. It doesn't factor in the costs of taxes, importation, and profits for Toyota. Here's the interesting bit: being a 5.0-liter V8 means the Century will benefit from the tax break under JPEPA. Also, being a hybrid, it would qualify for only half the excise tax under the new tax law.
Toyota Motor Philippines hasn't confirmed the vehicle yet, though that's not surprising: the Century hasn't been confirmed for left-hand drive markets either. But given the longevity of the last Toyota Century (it was produced for over two decades), we'd have plenty of time to wait for Toyota to change their minds.