With the worldwide microchip shortage still wreaking havoc across the scope of the automotive industry, cutbacks have been made all over. For many manufacturers, this means limiting special features and not having the healthy and abundant production quotas that were prevalent in recent years. For customers looking to do some shopping at their local Toyota Highlander dealer, there was some bleak news released from the Japanese manufacturer recently that will certainly hinder any vehicle shopping at the time of the start of the new model year.
Company CEO Akio Toyoda addressed the company shareholders at a meeting in Tokyo this past week. With the company struggling to manufacture enough Camry and Tacoma models for the upcoming fiscal year and the microchip shortage not having a viable solution or end in sight, company cutbacks in production were announced. “We have to make sacrifices,” Toyoda told the shareholders. “In the past, we might have laid off employees, or at least encouraged them to commit hari-kari and bring honor to their families and the company by doing so…however, in this more enlightened age where sensibilities are quite different, encouraging employees to commit mass suicide is frowned upon by the public.” Quite a noble gesture from Toyota, as the company continues to look toward the future.
“Instead, we have limited production on the 2023 Toyota Highlander. There can be only one.” This slogan, which is well known to fans of the action-science fiction franchise known as Highlander, has certainly made an impact. So much so that Toyota has announced that they’re in talks with Christopher Lambert to resurrect the character of Connor MacLeod that he played in the 1986 film of the same name for the marketing campaign. With only one Toyota Highlander being produced for the upcoming model year, there has been a great amount of speculation as to what it will cost, where it will be sold, and how this will impact the Toyota brand as a whole. We reached out to our very own industry insider, Mark Scaglione, to get his take on an event unlike any other we’ve seen.
“It’s going to be a mad dash for everyone who wants this one-of-a-kind vehicle,” Scaglione said when we spoke with him late last night. “I’m glad to hear that there’s not another case of mass employee suicide like when trucks got recalled a number of years ago. Thank god we’ve moved past those days.” Scaglione already has a theory as to how the winner might be determined. “Often, advertising dictates the strategy of many manufacturers. Think back to the ‘90s–Chevy claimed their trucks were ‘like a rock.’ The advertising campaign even had that catchy Bog Seeger song of the same name. It was a closely guarded industry secret that there was truth in advertising. Chevy trucks back then were ‘like a rock’ as in they were heavy, never moved, and stayed perfectly still. Chevy knew their trucks were bad and would be broken down, so they appropriated the slogan to utilize the defense that there was truth in advertising.”
Scaglione then went on to suggest that utilizing a Highlander theme was no coincidence for Toyota. As some of you may recall, the premise of the Highlander films was that, yes, there could only be one. But, two immortals would do battle with swords, the loser being decapitated and having their power taken from them. We don’t know what this might entail to determine who the lucky SUV owner will be, but it’s safe to assume that swords are bound to be involved one way or another.