Commuting to and from my other job as a junior high school English teacher on the Saitama/Gunma border, I see a lot of really cool cars on the road. Vehicles you can only really find in Japan, especially if they are special editions. Product tie-ins are huge in Japan, and cars are no exception.
Which is why I wasn't surprised when I saw this Gundam version of the Toyota Auris.
The show car version was already covered by Kotaku earlier last year, but this is the first time I've ever seen anything about what appears to be a more basic trim level production version (look at the steelies with standard Toyota plastic wheel covers/hubcaps).
And if you link through to the Kotaku article, it's obvious the show car has a ton more work on it, both inside and out. Brian Ashcraft reported that the version being offered for sale was an RS version. This is doesn't look like an RS. Which is because it's not. Now that the vehicle has been released, Toyota and its dealer network Netz allow you to build a GUNDAM X Auris using a package add-on system:
The vehicle represents the character of Char Aznable, still one of the most famous and beloved anime characters of all time. With each part of the GUNDAM X Auris available for individual purchase, you can choose to publicly demonstrate the extent of your devotion to the Zeon ace robot pilot.
I'd say the woman (and yes, the driver is a female fan, I know, I've commuted the other direction from her a few times over the last few months) who owns this particular GUNDAM X Auris is a big enough fan to pay for the extra decals and a few other parts, but perhaps not a big enough fan to go for the total RS "S Package."
Still, how many people can say they drive a Gundam car?
Images via Kat Callahan/Jalopnik and Toyota/Bandai.