The 40th edition of the Tokyo
Motor Show opens Saturday, October 27 for the public and runs through Sunday,
November 11. But as is custom, the world’s automotive press will get their own
preview starting next week – and TheCarConnection.com will be reporting live
from the show floor.
Connection will hand at Makuhari Messe in
to cover the two press
days, Wednesday, October 24 and Thursday, October 25. At this moment, the
Japanese Auto Manufacturers Association says that 241 companies from 11
countries will show 520 vehicles, with 71 billed as “world premieres.” A closer look shows that this number
includes commercial vehicles, motorcycles and an extremely generous
interpretation of “premiere.” Moreover, there a healthy helping of whimsical or
far-out concepts that will never progress to production in this tally, as well.
Still, if even one-half of the 37 passenger cars so
dubbed as new are indeed significant, then
Tokyo will be a show to note. We expect the product proposals
resulting from the ongoing “Green” debates over Climate Change and man-made CO2
gases, regulated exhaust emissions and fuel economy will continue from the
Frankfurt Motor Show.
After all, the Toyota Prius debuted at
a decade ago. With
more than one million hybrids now sold
has clearly refuted the conventional
notion that Japanese makers are just copiers of automotive designs or technology
developed elsewhere. Herein is a larger battle: German companies are heavily
invested in diesel technology that provides an immediate increase in fuel
economy when compared with conventional gasoline engines. However, next
generation direct injection gasoline engines can also provide diesel-like fuel
economy, a potential advantage in regions where diesel fuel doesn’t have a cost
or customer preference lead. Full hybrids with two engines and large battery
packs remain costly. To survive makers will need to be adept in multiple
technologies as regional regulations confound commonization and globalization.
Details of significant introductions are just
starting to emerge, but some trends are already evident. Japan’s Big Three
- Toyota, Honda and Nissan –
continue product gambits attacking every segment of the market – small cars,
performance cars, minivans, crossovers, luxury cars, trucks and commercial
vehicles. Gasoline, diesel, ethanol, hydrogen, electricity – name a source of
power and development is going on in
is about anything this year, it’s about
Japanese product strengths, and Japanese engineering prowess.