Tokyo Auto Show Cancelled?

January 13, 2009

Organizers are considering pulling the plug on the 41st annual Tokyo Motor Show, which is currently slated for October 21 - November 8, 2009. According to the Japanese Automobile Manufacturer's Association (JAMA), registration is decidedly off this year, even though 100% of JAMA's Japanese and German members have signed up. If the Association's website were slightly more functional and up to date, we could get a sense of JAMA's international membership roster and compare it with the list of exhibitors from 2007 (the last time the bi-annual show was held), but alas.

All we know now is that things are in limbo, and Japanese automakers are divided on how to proceed. Given the current trend in registrations, if the show goes on, it will almost certainly be smaller--but then, Detroit is dealing with that right now and seems to be taking everything in stride. Several on the Tokyo planning committee clearly believe in the "go big or go home" philosophy, but that likely has more to do with saving face in front of Japan's nearest economic rival, China, than any real event production concerns.

Our best guess is that the show will move forward, with its theme intact: "Fun driving for us, eco driving for earth."  Japanese automakers are just as jittery as their counterparts around the world, but that's no reason to cancel the party, right?

 -- Richard Read


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