2001 Tokyo Show Preview

October 22, 2001

2001 Tokyo Motor Show Index by TCC Team (10/22/2001)

The most recent auto show in Frankfurt was overshadowed by the Sept. 11 terror attacks. Now, the Tokyo Motor Show hopes to override global concern for terrorism as it opens this week to the media.

The Tokyo show, true to its tradition, will host a slew of Japanese-brand product introductions, including the Mazda 6 mid-sizer and the production version of the Nissan Z, along with the Japanese debut of the Mini Cooper S and the usual array of baffling idea cars unveiled by tiny girls in white gloves and funky outfits. Also on tap: a host of concept cars, like the wacky Mazda Secret Hideout and the truly bizarre Nissan Nails.

TCC is on the road this week in Tokyo to bring you coverage from the show floor. Check back all week for our coverage, and look for these production vehicles and concepts from Japan:

 

2003 Mazda 6

2003 Mazda 6

2003 Mazda 6
Mazda’s new mid-size hope is the 6 (in Japan, to be called the Atenza), a new range of vehicles that Mazda says will put it on par with the best from Germany and Japan. While the home market gets a four-door sedan, five-door wagon and five-door hatchback, only the four-door 6 sedan has been approved for sale in the U.S. All 6s sport a double-wishbone suspension in front and a multi-link setup in the rear. Dual-stage front airbags are paired with standard side airbags and optional side curtain airbags. A new range of engines includes a 2.3-liter four-cylinder with Mazda's Sequential Valve Timing (S-VT) and a 219-hp 3.0-liter V-6, with 24 valves and the Sequential Valve Timing system. The various 6 models will be built in Hofu, Japan, and Flat Rock, Mich. Japan gets them next summer; the U.S., likely the fall of 2002.

 

Mazda Secret Hideout concept

Mazda Secret Hideout concept

Mazda Secret Hideout
As a sort of gasoline-powered sorbet for the more conventional 6, Mazda also is showing the Secret Hideout — in its words, a “mobile retreat for young individualists” with flexible seating and plenty of places to store MP3 players, CD video recorders and maybe even a gross of deceased Tamagotchis. A locomotive-shaped wagon/SUV crossover developed by a group of young Mazda trend-spotters collectively known as Secret Hideout Engineers, the vehicle came about as the trendoids spent time living with the hip Tokyo buyers Mazda hopes to win over.


 

Honda Dual Note concept

Honda Dual Note concept

 

Honda Dual Note
While the decade-old NSX mid-engine sportscar receives a mild facelift for 2002, a new Honda sportscar concept is to be unveiled at Tokyo. The DualNote is a hybrid mid-engine sports car with four doors that pairs a 3.5-liter V-6 engine with a 4WD driveline.

 

Honda Unibox concept

Honda Unibox concept

Honda UNIBOX/SUU
The DualNote is joined on the Honda stand by a pair of decidedly wackier concepts. The Unibox, which appears to be an automotive interpretation of a Le Corbusier Lego set, has modular, semi-transparent body panels that allow its structure to show through. The slightly more conventional S·U·U (which, we’re told, stands for Smart, Urban and Useful) combines the driving ease of a compact vehicle with the space and packaging of a minivan.

 

2001 Mini Cooper S

2001 Mini Cooper S

Mini Cooper S
The more powerful “S” version of the Mini Cooper has gone on sale in Europe, and is being shown in Tokyo to tease waiting Japanese buyers as well as U.S. journalists. In the past, the ‘S’ stood for Special; this time it means ‘supercharged,’ which explains the car’s main identifying feature, an air intake in the hood. Using modern supercharging technology and an intercooler, the S squeezes 163 horsepower out of its 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine, giving the sports version a top speed of 135 mph and zero to 60 mph acceleration in just over seven seconds. BMW has aimed the Cooper S directly at the enthusiast market; in addition to the extra power the car gets sports suspension, bigger wheels with run-flat tires, Automatic Stability Control and traction control and a six-speed manual gearbox.

 

2002 Nissan Fairlady Z

2002 Nissan Fairlady Z

Nissan Z
After years of panting and drooling, enthusiasts finally have their Nissan Z. Nissan claims the Fairlady Z has optimum front/rear weight distribution and superior Brembo Spa brakes, derived from those used on the Japanese-market Skyline GT-R. The Z’s newly developed 3.5-liter V6 engine doesn’t get a power rating (it makes between 240 and 260 hp in various North American applications) but does receive a new six-speed manual transmission specifically developed for it.

 

2007 Opel Flextreme Concept

2007 Opel Flextreme Concept

Nissan Nails
A two-seat, urban-oriented pickup truck, the Nails blends techno features like an integrated cell phone with dent-resistant body panels. The A-frame cabin also sports a soft rear partition between the bed and the cabin, akin to that in the Chevy Avalanche, that can be fastened with hooks and clips.

 

Nissan i.d.e.o. concept

Nissan i.d.e.o. concept

Nissan i.d.e.o.
An information booth on wheels, the i.d.e.o. continues Nissan’s fascination with punctuation (Frankfurt’s mm.e was just the beginning, apparently). The i.d.e.o.’s instrument panel is one big display screen. The pillarless design and center-opening doors evince modern Japanese design elements; inside, drivers will find a lattice glass top and lantern-like welcome lights. While the interior may be influenced by classic Japanese architecture, the outside is the work of Big Brother: fourteen CCD cameras are mounted around the body, ostensibly for safety monitoring.

 

Mitsubishi S.U.P. concept

Mitsubishi S.U.P. concept

Mitsubishi S.U.P.
What’s S.U.P.? Apparently Mitsu wasn’t satisfied with Budweiser’s answer. The Sport Utility Pack has been penned for folks who like the great outdoors and the great indoors, too. Its “pop-art” body has a full-length lamella roof panel and semi-transparent door panels for outward visibility. Its hybrid drivetrain is mated to a four-wheel-drive system.

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