The LEGO Group’s latest gift with purchase – 40532 Vintage Taxi – raises some questions about the online store’s thresholds for promotional items.
As our recent review makes clear, 40532 Vintage Taxi – the latest promotional item from LEGO.com – is a great choice for any adult collector. Its retro styling and adults-first packaging suggest it’s a fine companion to 10297 Boutique Hotel. This is the new modular building for 2022 and boasts a similar old-world sensibility.
Unfortunately, this comparison isn’t necessarily a flattering one. 40532 Vintage Taxi is only being offered with purchases of £200 / $200 / €200 or more. That’s a rather tough sell, considering 10297 Boutique Hotel goes for £174.99 / $199.99 / €199.99.
40532 Vintage Taxi is a successor to other recent promotions, although these were more reasonably priced. 40491 Year of the Tiger was bundled with LEGO.com orders exceeding £85/€85/€85. This ran at the same time as a deal with 30562 Monkie Kid’s Underwater Journey available with NINJAGO/Monkie Kid purchases over £40 / $40 / €40.
There is a period of overlap between 40491 Year of the Tiger and 40532 Vintage Taxi as the former is available until February 6 and the latter until February 13. Even so, the proximity of these promotions is sure to leave a sour taste in the mouth of some LEGO fans.
Promotional LEGO items have been a key part of The LEGO Group’s business for several years; smaller builds, available with orders that meet certain criteria, appear throughout the year at LEGO.com and in LEGO stores. However, the high price threshold for 40532 Vintage Taxi has encouraged us to look back at earlier ones, and ask: is The LEGO Group charging fair prices?
Pulling together data on LEGO GWPs is a little tricky. Some simply ask that you spend over a certain threshold; others ask you to spend a certain amount on a specific theme. A few are bundled with a specific product, assuming you buy it within a certain timespan.
Looking at recent promotional items of a similar type, 40532 Vintage Taxi does seem like an outlier. A non-exhaustive look at promotional items appears to confirm this; most from the last 12 months or so have been much cheaper to obtain.
|LEGO Set||Price Threshold|
|40532 Vintage Taxi||£200/$200/€200|
|40488 Coffee Cart||£65/$65/€65|
|40487 Sailboat Adventure||£200/$200/€200|
|40486 Mini Adidas Originals Superstar||£95/$85/€95|
|40484 Santa’s Front Yard||£170/$170/€170|
|40452 Hogwarts Gryffindor Dorms||£100/$100/€100|
|40450 Amelia Earhart Tribute||£100/$100/€100|
|40449 Easter Bunny’s Carrot House||£60/$60/€60|
|40448 Vintage Car||£85/$85/€85|
|40417 Year of the Ox||£85/$85/€85|
|30566 Police Helicopter||£40/$40/€40|
|30567 Fire Helicopter||£40/$40/€40|
|30563 Build Your Own Snail||£50/$50/€50|
|30564 Build Your Own Monster||£50/$50/€50|
|30557 DOTS Photo Holder Cube||£40/$40/€40|
|30539 Lloyd’s Quad Bike||£40/$40/€40|
|30454 Shang-Chi and The Great Protector||£40/$40/€40|
|30389 Fuzzy & Mushroom Platform||£40/$40/€40|
|30388 Imperial Shuttle||£40/$40/€40|
|30387 Bob Minion with Robot Arms||£40/$40/€40|
|30343 McLaren Elva||£40/$40/€40|
|40451 Tatooine Homestead||£85/$85/€85|
Higher prices for promotional items seem motivated either by a licence, desirability, or a greater likelihood of purchase. 40484 Santa’s Front Yard is an example of this idea. This set was released in November 2021, at a time when people were doing their Christmas shopping. Similarly, 40451 Tatooine Homestead was released as a May the Fourth promotional model: a time when Star Wars purchases are more popular and encouraged by the LEGO Group.
40448 Vintage Car and 40487 Sailboat Adventure, meanwhile, were the product of LEGO competitions. While they aren’t licensed, the unique subject matter of these builds was apparently enough to warrant higher spending thresholds for them.
This slice of data suggests that – while most GWPs are reasonably priced – the possibility of much more expensive GWPs is now established. This isn’t necessarily a dealbreaker, but two factors make this harder to swallow.
The first is any implied connections between a promotional set and existing sets elsewhere. 40532 Vintage Taxi, as previously mentioned, seems to be a companion to 10297 Boutique Hotel. This echoes 40140 Flower Cart, a promotional 2015 item that connected to 10246 Detective’s Office. However, the fact that the hotel isn’t enough to secure the taxi on its own makes the high price all the tougher to justify.
The second factor is when the promotion launches. The Vintage Taxi promotion came hot on the heels of the Year of the Tiger promotion – the latter wasn’t a ridiculous spend, but it wasn’t insignificant either.
Releasing these promotions in such close proximity means LEGO fans have to spend more than they might want to in order to get everything. And that can feel underhanded on The LEGO Group’s part, especially since the cancellation of store calendars makes planning purchases tougher than before.
Until a better solution presents itself, LEGO fans are left with two options; spend more over a short timespan, or take a gamble and wait for a better promotional item. Neither are particularly desirable, regardless of how good the LEGO set in question is.