Isuzu Zen concept Tokyo 2001Enlarge Photo
General Motors’ corporate arms reached out to its Japanese affiliates and the second-largest Tokyo display (Toyota/Daihatsu is largest) incorporated Isuzu and Suzuki vehicles. Although Isuzu’s long-term position might be unclear, beyond the fact it’s supplying diesel engines to GM in the U.S., the company showed off a couple of new concept vehicles. One, the Zen, featured traditional Japanese design icons inside such as bamboo wood trim and screens. The interior seats can be moved around so that it can have a completely open floor.
Mitsubishi SUP concept 2001 TokyoEnlarge Photo
Several Japanese manufacturers besides Nissan talked about the success of their turnaround plans. Mitsubishi said it was important for the company to establish a design identity. Its French designer Olivier Boulay unveiled concept vehicles that were well received and drew large crowds during media days. The CZ2 will actually appear as a production car later in 2001. The SUP featured outer door panels that could be removed to be used as carrying cases. Aimed at active younger buyers, the car even featured a special storage area under the rear bumper to contain a scooter. The CZ3 Tarmac was an aggressive variation on the theme, which took liberty with styling cues from the Mitsubishi’s successful rally cars.
Toyota FSX concept 2001 TokyoEnlarge Photo
As the largest Japanese manufacturer Toyota did not seem to appear as the most progressive company as it has so often. Nonetheless it showed off 16 concept vehicles, such as the Japanese version of the Matrix SUV/hatchback/wagon that was first seen back at the Detroit show in January. The aggressive FXS sports car takes the opposite extreme of so many small cars with its V-8 engine.
Toyota ist 2001 tokyo conceptEnlarge Photo
The Voltz concept car is the Japanese version of the Matrix concept shown at Detroit. The production version goes on sale early next year as a production SUV/station wagon. A smaller variation on the same theme made its debut at Tokyo, called the Toyota ist. It’s powered by a 1.3-liter engine compared to a 1.8-liter engine in the Voltz/Matrix.
Toyota DMT concept 2001 TokyoEnlarge Photo
A Japanese manufacturer’s lineup of concept vehicles does not seem to be complete without at least one concept van. Toyota’s DMT (Dual Mode Traveler) has a high-mounted driving position and is set up to be as useful when stationary as when moving. It comes complete with enough space in the rear for use as a studio or office when the vehicle is parked.