2001 Tokyo Motor Show Index by TCC Team (10/22/2001)
Nobody was quite sure what the mood would be at the 35th Tokyo Motor Show, coming just six weeks after the horrific events of Sept. 11, which happened on the first media day at the Frankfurt show. Coupled with the uncertainty of the economy and the ongoing depressed Japanese market, everyone was sure the mood would be subdued. Some even wondered if there would be all the pretty models which Tokyo is famous for, especially as the organizers had said the opening ceremonies would be cancelled out of respect for the victims of the terrorist attacks.
Fortunately the general mood seemed good and even the girls were still out in force on the media days. Indeed, several European auto manufacturers were in a definitely upbeat mood, announcing record sales and profits during the first nine months of the year. Although Japan might be physically nearer the situation going on in Afghanistan, the problems and concerns seemed further away — although not totally gone as executives said they were not as sure what the future would bring.
One sure sign that the essential excitement of the auto industry is still strong was the way in which motorsports plays such an important role in the building of brand awareness in Japan, even more so than in Europe and far more than in the U.S. There were Formula One cars on display on many stands and Toyota, which will not enter F1 until next year, had its test car on display as it announced sponsorship from Panasonic and Michelin. Honda had two F1 cars from two teams on display. Other manufacturers, such as Mitsubishi, Subaru and Suzuki showed off rally cars.
Although there were fewer show cars than in previous Tokyo shows, there seemed to be a greater emphasis on more realistic concept cars that hopefully will appear in production sooner rather than later.
Honda Dual NoteEnlarge Photo
The consensus among the media attending the show was that the Dual Note was the best concept car at the show. The four-door, four-passenger sports car delivers great performance as it is powered by a hybrid version of Honda's 3.5-liter V-6 I-VTEC engine. The mid-engine car has an additional electric motor assist driving the front wheels, making it an AWD car; the combined power output is 400 hp. Yet despite its high performance capabilities it returns a fuel consumption of 50 mpg. The interior also shows that Honda can create one with style and pizzazz. Judging by the relatively sensible exterior styling, this is a concept that could easily see the light of day sooner rather than later as a production vehicle.
Honda unibox concept 2001 TokyoEnlarge Photo
On the other hand, Honda’s six-wheel Unibox concept van was perhaps the least likely to go into production. It featured completely clear panels to display the truss frame. The interior can be configured as a mobile office or a studio. Storage compartments in the doors can hold a special fold-up mini motorcycle.
Honda Bulldog 2001 tokyo conceptEnlarge Photo
Honda Model X concept Tokyo 2001Enlarge Photo
Honda Model X