SPECIAL REPORT: 2005 Tokyo Motor Show

October 20, 2005

SPECIAL REPORT: 2005 Tokyo Motor Show

TCC's Auto Show Index by TCC Team (10/3/2005)
Our coverage of the world's major auto shows, year to year.

2005 Tokyo Motor Show Index by TCC Team (10/18/2005)

Lexus LF-Sh

By all official accounts, the Lexus sedan shown on the stands at this year's Tokyo Motor Show is a concept. But with its softer, prettier shape sharing so much in common with the new IS and GS sedans, it's hard to imagine the LF-Sh concept being anything but a production-ready version of the next LS sedan. Beneath its comely skin, the LF-Sh bears a V-8 engine mated to a hybrid motor system to produce "an acceleration feeling of a different dimension," as executives describe it. The hybrid powertrain is capable of providing all-wheel drive. The concept LF-Sh is 199.2 inches long, with a 116.9-inch wheelbase-roughly two inches and one inch longer than the current LS 430.Toyota may be working on a new transmission with seven speeds for the production version of the LF-Sh, along with a lane-departure warning system and an updated version of its night-vision system.

Toyota i-swing

Is it a Segway with a seat? Or the next step in the whole man-machine integration? Toyota 's i-swing concept takes the meaning of personal transportation a step smaller and even stranger. The concept is a two- or three-wheel vehicle paraded out for Tokyo audiences and offered up as an alternative to a four-wheel car for urban transportation. Steering the i-swing is accomplished by either a joystick or by a pair of pedals that respond to driver motion, almost like a pair of skis. The i-swing's body is made of plastics and fabric, the latter of which can be changed out by owners as fashion dictates. An LED panel on the vehicle can also be programmed with the owners' favorite video clips or still images to entertain other i-swingers, it's supposed. Spooky bit: the i-swing is designed to use artificial intelligence to determine the driver's habits and preferences.

Toyota bB

If you're looking for the follow-up vehicle to the Scion xB and a spiritual sister to Honda's Element, you've found it in the bB concept, one of a slew of boxy, foxy vehicles set out by Japan's automakers at the Toyota show. The bB is a Scion-sized compact with an exterior-especially in the junction of the windshield and hood-that resembles Honda's larger crossover vehicle. More rounded and less blocky than the current Scion xB, the bB's electric-green paint is complemented by nightclub lighting inside and a nine-speaker sound system. Turn on your favorite tunes, and the lights bounce along to the beat-even if it's the Carpenters. This "place to chill out" was hardly mentioned in the course of Toyota 's press conference, but it's empirically evident that the Scion xB, due for a replacement in a year or so, could end up looking very much like the bB.

Toyota Fine-X

Fuel-cell vehicles and minivans are staples of the auto show circuit-put them together and you'll likely have something like Toyota 's Fine-X, a concept fuel-cell people-mover with a unique four-wheel independent drive system that allows each wheel to nearly completely rotate. That, Toyota says, makes "U-turns easy and fun." As if they aren't already! The Fine-X also has an interior crafted from carbon-neutral materials that can be recycled with a minimum of CO2-induced guilt. And the most attractive aspect of the Fine-X is its hospitable interior, which is crafted around a four-passenger cockpit with front seats that power themselves out of the vehicle to "greet" passengers and grant them easier access, aided also by the gullwing doors. Toyota promises a Camry-sized interior in compact-car dimensions - the same words they used to describe the Prius when it launched two years ago. Hmmm.

Toyota FSC

It's not a sedan, and not a minivan-and it's not the Mazda5, despite the similarities with that vehicle. The Toyota FSC, or Flexible Saloon Concept, is a five-door vehicle smaller than conventionally-sized U.S. minivans but not quite as small as the likes of the Scion xB. The "Vibrant Clarity" design theme gives the FSC an elegant stance and a D-pillar reminiscent of the Lexus RX crossover. The concept's tailgate has a two-way action; the lower portion slides up for access to the cargo area, or the whole tailgate can be lifted for more space. Barely acknowledged during the Toyota press conference, the FSC looks as if it really wants to be with its design siblings at Lexus-and suggests to us there's room for a smaller-than-RX crossover in the upscale brand's lineup.

Mitsubishi Outlander

Wearing a new sheetmetal suit that's infinitely more attractive than the last version, the new Mitsubishi Outlander bowed to Tokyo audiences two days after going on sale in its home market. The new Outlander arrives in the U.S. next year with the new look intact, and with confirmed four-cylinder power and a rumored V-6 option. The re-engineered vehicle grows a bit and adopts a new shape that's reminiscent of the Pontiac Vibe, but the Outlander is now long enough to host a third-row seat, available optionally in Japanese-market vehicles. The standard powertrain is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder mated to a continuously variable transmission (CVT); the all-wheel-drive system has been integrated with stability control for additional safety. A Rockford Fosgate 650-watt audio system is on the options list. Though it wasn't confirmed during the Mitsubishi press conference, a 250-hp V-6 should be available with the Outlander when it arrives in the U.S. by the middle of next year.

Mitsubishi Concept-X

Mitsubishi Motors president Osamu Masuko calls the new Concept-X a "new-age Evolution design." We're hoping that doesn't mean a hippie transformation for the Mitsu Evo, but somehow we're reassured by the handsomely styled concept, with its tall grille, sleek roofline and tail spoiler. The Concept-X takes the "ruthlessly mechanical road machine image" that the Evolution has earned, and puts it into a body shell crafted partly in aluminum and outfitted with a mod new interior with aluminum trim. The concept powertrain is based around a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, hooked up to a paddle-shifted automatic transmission and Super All-Wheel Control, the latest version of Mitsubishi's all-wheel-drive system. With a new Evo due in 18 months or less, the Concept-X appears to point the way to the styling of the next edition.

Mitsubishi D:5 Concept

This square-jawed concept is a precursor of a new Delica minivan for the Japanese market - but we can't help but think the D5 would fit right in over in the more outwardly Robocop parts of downtown Detroit . The D:5's blockish lines cloak a roomy interior with a lower floor height than the previous Delica, and a series of structural hoops are emphasized in the interior styling, highlighting the van's body-building efforts. A full-length glass sunroof lets the sun shine inside, and a CVT mated with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine provides the D5's power. The engine and the four-wheel-drive system are both shared with the new Outlander.

Audi S8

It's the Audi with the Lamborghini engine-and if that sounds tantalizing, it is. The big S8 supersedan made its appearance in Tokyo as Audi celebrated strong sales in the island nation - numbers are up 17 percent this year, and the company expects it will break its record sales of more than 800,000 units worldwide this year. Coming next year to Europe and likely to the U.S. later in the year, the S8 sports a 450-hp version of the Gallardo's V-10, here displacing 5.2 liters and outfitted with direct injection and mated to a six-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission. Audi estimates the S8 four-door will rocket to 60 mph in about 5.0 seconds and hit a governed top speed of 155 mph. Quattro all-wheel drive is standard, and ceramic brakes are available. On the standard list: 20-inch wheels, air suspension, steering-controlled adaptive lighting, and a choice of carbon-fiber or wood interior trim, as well as a DVD navigation system. A Bang & Olufsen audio system is optional on the S8, which will be priced in Europe from $115,000.

Audi Shooting Brake Concept

The unconventional Shooting Brake concept bowed on the Audi stand wearing winter-white paint and aspirations of becoming one of six new Audi models due in the next two years. An indication of the styling of the next TT, the Shooting Brake is a three-door hatchback with the deep new Audi grille and a smart interior design trimmed in aluminum. Under its hood, the Shooting Brake gets power from a 250-hp, 3.2-liter direct-injected V-6. Teamed up to a six-speed DSG gearbox and quattro all-wheel drive, the Shooting Brake could accelerate to 60 mph in 6.0 seconds, Audi says. Ceramic brakes have the speed-scrubbing duty, hiding behind pretty 19-inch wheels. The Shooting Brake wears aluminum trim on the center stack, gauges and dash. Its DVD navigation system has an innovative interface that allows drivers to write their destination on the screen with a stylus; the system recognizes the handwriting and uses it to program the route.

Chrysler Akino

Chrysler Group, its sales on the uptick in America, is also experiencing a surge in non-North American markets. So far this year, the company's sales outside North America are up six percent. Hence comes a concept devoted to markets where pickups and SUVs don't rule the roost. The new Akino concept is a one-box city vehicle with an interior patterned after high-end living rooms-and named for the 37-year-old designer who, like the vehicle itself, has one foot in Japan and the other in the U.S. California-based designer and Japanese native Akino Tsuchiya says her Akino concept appeals to the senses with materials and finishes you might find in your own living room-bamboo, leather, throw pillows and rugs, even sconce-style lighting. The cozy, comfy Akino was styled at Chrysler's Pacifica studio outside San Diego.

Mercedes-Benz F600 HYGENIUS

Any press conference that ends up with Dieter Zetsche joining in with a hired quartet and backing band on the violin in a snappy run-through of the Rolling Stones' "Start Me Up" gets our attention. And while we're a little bit fatigued by the whole fuel-cell thing (2010? 2015? The 12th of never?), the new Mercedes-Benz F600 HYGENIUS shows some thoughtful progress in the notion of those vehicles of the future. Based on today's B-Class, the F600 (pardon us for not using the superscripted HYGENIUS throughout) sports a fuel-cell powertrain with a driving range of 250 miles and a power output of 155 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. That, Mercedes-Benz says, endows the F600 with performance and driving range equivalent to that of conventional gas-powered cars. The fuel-cell powertrain not only provides locomotion for the vehicle-Benz says it can also be used to power a few houses as a sort of mobile generator. In relation to past fuel-cell experiments, the F600 has a cell stack 40 percent smaller and 16 percent more efficient. And in terms of real-world use, Benz says the integrated lane-change cameras, child seats with their own custom stroller design, even cupholders that warm and cool beverages are signs that the company is taking the future of fuel cells very seriously.

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Name Symbol Last Change
Autobytel, Inc. ABTL 4.64 +0.14 (+3.11%)
Autoliv Inc. ALV 41.10 -0.18 (-0.44%)
AutoNation Inc. AN 19.23 +0.05 (+0.26%)
ArvinMeritor Inc. ARM 15.38 +0.31 (+2.06%)
American Axle & Mfr. Holdings Inc. AXL 21.89 -0.08 (-0.36%)
Ballard Power Systems Inc. BLDP 4.97
BorgWarner Inc. BWA 56.64 -0.40 (-0.70%)
Cummins Inc. CMI 81.76 +1.11 (+1.38%)
Dana Corporation DCN 7.56 +0.59 (+8.46%)
DaimlerChrysler AG (ADR) DCX 49.89 -0.04 (-0.08%)
Delphi Corporation DPH 0.36
Dura Automotive Systems DRRA 3.35 +0.02 (+0.60%)
Eaton Corporation ETN 60.25 +1.00 (+1.69%)
Ford Motor Company F 8.47
General Motors Corporation GM 28.38 -0.74 (-2.54%)
Gentex Corporation GNTX 18.94 +3.10 (+19.57%)
Goodyear Tire & Rubber GT 13.87 +0.07 (+0.51%)
Honda Motor Co. Ltd. (ADR) HMC 28.88 -0.09 (-0.31%)
Johnson Controls Inc. JCI 66.85 +0.38 (+0.57%)
Lear Corporation LEA 30.21 -0.13 (-0.43%)
Magna International Inc. MGA 67.60 +0.60 (+0.90%)
Motorola Inc. MOT 21.02 +0.85 (+4.21%)
Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. (ADR) NSANY 21.37 -0.30 (-1.38%)
Sonic Automotive Inc. SAH 21.09 -0.14 (-0.66%)
Siemens AG SI 75.00 +0.08 (+0.11%)
Sirius Satellite Radio SIRI 6.08 +0.11 (+1.84%)
Toyota Motor Corporation (ADR) TM 89.81 -1.51 (-1.65%)
TRW Automotive Holdings TRW 26.42 +0.31 (+1.19%)
Tower Automotive Inc. TWRAQ.PK 0.13 -0.02 (-10.34%)
United Auto Group Inc. UAG 32.83 -0.45 (-1.35%)
Visteon Corporation VC 8.03 -0.04 (-0.50%)
XM Satellite Radio Hold. XMSR 30.94 +0.19 (+0.62%)

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