2007 Tokyo Motor Show Coverage

October 24, 2007

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.


The Car Connection will hand at Makuhari Messe in Chiba City 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 Tokyo a decade ago. With more than one million hybrids now sold Toyota 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 Japan .  If Tokyo is about anything this year, it’s about Japanese product strengths, and Japanese engineering prowess.

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