The Model X active-utility vehicle features suicide doors and a stylish interior that is washable. Although this concept might look far removed from a production vehicle, it is rumored to be close to being considered for production and may be exported to the U.S. Technical details are sketchy, but the seats can be easily removed to provide a flat floor. The vehicle is aimed at people who want to enjoy outdoor activities such as surfing; surfboards can be stowed under the seats and the rear of the vehicle can be opened up to provide a short pickup bed- like interior.
Apart from working on new cars, motorcycles and powerplants, Honda engineers are also conducting the development of an autonomous walking robot. Asimo (Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility) is the third version since the project began in 1986. The robot played a key part in the media introduction at the auto show demonstrating how well it is able to walk. The 3' 11" high robot weighs 95 lb and is capable of climbing up stairs by emulating the joint movements of human legs and hips. It can also switch on lights and do other tasks using its arms and hands. The diminutive size was chosen so it would not be as threatening and also to save weight. Honda hopes that it will be able to develop Asimo into a useful tool for doing mundane jobs such as vacuuming a house and fetching things for its human masters. Robots have been dreamed of for decades but judging by the way Asimo is developing, Honda just might be able to make sci-fi reality in a few years time.
Mercedes-Benz F400 CarvingEnlarge Photo
Mercedes-Benz F400 Carving
One of the few real surprises at the show was the world premiere of the F400 Carving, a concept sports car that emulates the snow sport of carving. The sports car has active camber control, which allows the wheels to lean over in corners so that only part of the tire is touching the road surface. Mercedes engineers say that they have recorded up to 1.28g going through corners in this car that features several other “X-by-wire” solutions such as drive-by-wire and brake-by-wire.
Hyundai TB concept Tokyo 2001Enlarge Photo
Hyundai is a newcomer to the Japanese market, as it has only been on sale there for one year. Although the Korean company has had a tough time making inroads into the world’s toughest marketplace, it is convinced it can do well. Its strategy is to design products to meet Japanese tastes by expanding its localization of products. Hyundai is a major sponsor of the all-important World Cup series next year, which will be jointly hosted by Korea and Japan. It is convinced that the coverage it receives from the event will help build awareness in Japan for its cars. Hyundai officials feel that the production version of the TB ("Think Big") concept car will be an ideal vehicle for sale in Japan as well as Europe.
2002 Porsche 911 Targa Tokyo showEnlarge Photo
High-end European cars do well in Japan, and Porsche is no exception. Its sales have risen by 24 percent in the past year and the German company hopes the introduction of the newly released 911 Targa will continue the iconic sports car’s successful sales rate. Hans Ridel, executive sales and marketing director, also said that initial dealer response for the upcoming Cayenne Porsche SUV has been so positive that the company is convinced it will be able to sell more than the planned annual production of 25,000 units