Well, this is embarrassing. For Toyota, as well as Japan's so-called automotive press corps.
Toyota notified journalists this month that a long-scheduled new-car test-drive event was scrubbed -- for lack of interest.
And it was not just for any new car. The event was supposed to showcase the new Lexus RC sports coupe -- the lineup's new halo car in a post-LFA world and definitely its best-looking one. Also on hand: the RC F high-performance version.
The Friday, Nov. 7, drive, to be held in Yokohama just south of Tokyo, "has been canceled due to insufficient attendance," Toyota said in an apologetic email to non-Japanese media based in Japan.
Both Japanese and non-Japanese media were invited. Automotive News, just for the record, RSVP'd to show up and drive.
Toyota's cancelation is all but unprecedented. It begs the question of whether it would have saved more face just to go ahead with the event, even with a pathetically low turnout.
Toyota public relations was stunned by the slap down. A baffled spokesman said it was just one more example of the auto-alienation syndrome gripping Japan and its young.
Some journalists had a different take.
"Why would I go all the way to Yokohama to test drive a sports car like the RC and just sit in traffic?" quipped one German business reporter who was put off by the hour trip from Tokyo.