I suspect that an rrp of ?154 and no match spools available might have a bearing on it.
Equally there are so many good fixed spool reels on the market with little to choose between them.
Further I have as yet to see one in a tackle shop near me.
Added to this a great many of todays anglers wouldnt know what a reel looks like as they only use the pole!!!
Apart from all the above I prefer my centerpins for most of my fishing... I tend to break out my fixed spool reels when having to lob feeders out and other very heavy weights but other than that I rarely use them.
If money were no object I would buy one. It's definatley a hit in the 'name' barbel circles- Trefor,Tony,et al. The reels I am currently using have to cover a number of disciplines, and the need for some form of free spool is desirable on any reel I buy. I've just seen the new Daiwa infinity bait runners, Incredible reels which will take over from shimano as the number one carp/pike reel. Out of my price range though. I am impressed with the 4500 emblems though, I always thought that the 5000's were to big for anything other than big pits, i think I could use these for everyday fishing.
It is an expensive reeel, of that there is no doubt, but it is incredibly well engineered, and the revolutionary drag system has to be used to be believed, and like most things you get what you pay for. There are some reels that cost an arm and a leg simply because they're big with huge spools for long casting.
I take your point about the 'stainless steel'-like finish. Black is macho, right!