2015 Tokyo Motor Show: Reaching for Relevance
Before the explosive growth of the Chinese car market, the pre-eminent auto show in Asia was the Tokyo Motor Show where automakers from all over the globe came to introduce new production models and forward-looking concepts. But with the opening of China's massive market and Japan's tradition of making imports difficult to sell in that island nation, the auto industry's focus soon turned to the shows in Shanghai and Beijing, turning what was an international event into a local motor show.
Looking to reassert its relevance, the 2015 edition of the Tokyo Motor Show will highlight a Japanese industry that is finally recovering from the devastating 2011 Tsunami and profiting from growing sales in both the North American and Europe. And this year marks greater participation from non-Japanese automakers in more than a decade. As a result, the home team is pulling out all the stops to put Tokyo back on the same footing it once enjoyed with Detroit, Geneva, Frankfurt and Paris.
While there will be significant production model debuts like the BMW M4 GTS and Mini convertible as well as concept precursors to the next generation Lexus LS sedan, Mazda RX-8 sports car and Subaru Impreza 5-door hatch, the real fun of Tokyo will be the playful show cars that the Japanese manufacturers are so good at producing. Among them are small "Kei" cars, essentially 660 cc powered city cars, like the Toyota S-FR and Kikai concepts as well as the Nissan Teatro for Dayz, a box on wheels with an interior that is essentially one large video screen. And alternative fuel will also be in the forefront, particularly fuel cell technology in the form of Honda's production version of its FCV (Fuel Cell Vehicle) concept and Toyota's FCV Plus Concept. Other near production concepts include a crossover SUV from Subaru called the Viziv and Mitsubishi's eX electric.
Check back for complete coverage of the show which opens Oct. 30 to the public.