The Tokyo Motor Show is no longer as popular as it once was. Many international automakers have found it difficult to do business in Japan and many have in fact withdrawn from the market. However, the biggest reason for its declining fame is the rise of the Chinese motor shows. The Chinese market is currently the most attractive market across the world and many automakers have a presence in the country including Japan’s own automakers. However, although the Tokyo Auto Show has lost its former glory and number of exhibitors, the show still has a lot of quality to showcase. This year’s show focused on concepts and advanced technology in the automobile industry. Following are the top highlights of the show that ended on 8th November.
New Japan Taxi
What London does, Tokyo can do better. Just like London has its own Hackney Cab, Toyota thinks Tokyo needs to also have its signature Cab. Nicknamed the “New Japan Taxi” Toyota could not have come up with the idea at a better time than now. Tokyo is increasingly receiving more visitors as preparations for the 2010 Tokyo Olympics reach full-speed. The taxi is very economical as it uses a 1.5 L liquid petroleum mill that combines with a hybrid setup. To provide ease of access to passengers, the model’s door cutouts extend into the ceiling. It is also pretty reliable (trust Toyota for this) and Toyota claims the model can cover 0.5 million kilometers before requiring servicing.
Lexus has already revealed that the LS+ Concept which uses hydrogen power will enter into production in time to be sold as a 2020 model. The model showcases the automaker’s new autonomous technology christened “Highway Teammate”.
Subaru Viziv Performance Concept
Subarus are known to be fast and powerful but ugly; the automaker intends to change this perception if the Viziv Concept is anything to go by. According to Subaru, the Viziv is built to honor the rich heritage of the Subaru Impreza and Legacy models. The Concept hints at what Subaru plans for the future of its performance sedans. Details about the concept are scarce but rumor has it that it is powered by a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that drives all its wheels.
Toyota also took advantage of the Tokyo Motor Show to flaunt its new GR HV Sports Concept to its domestic enthusiasts. The model which is based on the GT86 also draws inspiration from the automaker’s Le Mans prototypes. The model has a hybrid powertrain but its most attractive features are its stacked LED headlights and the targa rooftop borrowed from the legendary Supra and Mk2 MR2 models.
Toyota Concept i
Although Toyota is yet to feature significant artificial intelligence as well as machine learning technologies in its cars, the automaker is seriously researching on these technologies. The Toyota Concept i showcases the automaker’s knowledge in these two areas so far. The Concept has a machine leaning face dubbed “The Agent”. This technology studies a driver’s body language, facial expressions, and the tone of voice to gauge the driver’s emotions and thus determine his/her alertness level.
Honda Sports EV Concept
Touted as the S2000 roadster successor, the fully-electric Sports EV Concept would also be sold in the U.S. market if it reaches production. Honda is yet to confirm production; the company used the Tokyo Motor Show to gauge public reaction before making a decision.
Mazda Vision Coupe
The Mazda Vision Coupe is a testament of the ability of the Kodo design language to evolve with time. The coupe previews the design cues Mazda plans to introduce on its models in future. Mazda has not said if the coupe will hit production but I expect some of its visual elements to be used in future Mazda models.
Mazda Kai Concept
While the Mazda Vision Coupe is an expression of the future design language of the automaker, the Kai Concept expresses the Kodo design language but for the immediate future. Unlike with the coupe where the automaker did not talk about its drive-train that is if it had one, the Kai concept uses a Skyactive-X internal combustion power-plant which could potentially change the direction of petrol-powered vehicles.
Mitsubishi e-EVOLUTION Concept
Not to be left out, Mitsubishi was also around showcasing their e-EVOLUTION Concept, a crossover concept that brings back the memories of the legendary Evolution nametag. The fully electric concept uses three electric motors (two at the rear axle and the other on the front axle). Although the automaker has not confirmed whether it will make it into production, the model hints to the direction Mitsubishi design language is heading.
Suzuki e-Survivor Concept
Suzuki also took the stage to showcase its future off-roader dubbed “Suzuki e-Survivor Concept”. Built on the ladder frame chassis like other off-roaders from the automaker, the concept features an electric motor on each wheel and has autonomous driving capabilities…this is pretty wild (imagine trusting your vehicle to navigate across the desert on its own as you take a nap inside) The concept however also has a steering wheel and conventional controls for those who still want to get hands-on.
Nissan IMX Concept
Tokyo Motor Show would not be complete without an appearance by Nissan, Japan’s second-largest automaker. Nissan was exhibiting its new IMX Concept, an all-wheel-drive fully-electric model whose single charge can last up to 370 miles. The model can be driven manually but has an autonomous mode that enables the driver to use hand movements to control the car.
Nissan Leaf Nismo Concept
Nissan also showcased the Leaf Nismo Concept, a future replacement of the current generation of the Leaf EV. The concept has a sportier body as well as a revised suspension for better handling.
Toyota is not among the largest if not the largest automaker in the world for nothing; the automaker is always considering new ideas and creating new segments. This is evidenced by the number of concepts on show at the Tokyo Motor Show. The TJ Cruiser is a minivan-cum-crossover and Toyota is seriously considering taking it into production. The model derives its inspiration from a toolbox hence the letter T in its suffix. The letter J, on the other hand, stands for Joy.