Tokyo Motor Show: A glittering showcasing of vehicles of the future

Monzurul Huq
Thursday, November 16th, 2017


Daihatsu DN - old and new

 

Tokyo Motor Show is a biennial event where leading car manufacturers of the world not only display what is coming out of their production lines, but also focus on conceptual models of motor cars that are yet to hit the market. Since motor vehicles in recent years are adopting more the latest innovations of information technology, concept cars try to show how such technology is going to make driving more enjoyable and user friendly. Moreover, as cars are increasingly becoming a target of widespread criticism for being one of the prime source of greenhouse gas emission, automobile industries around the world are heavily involved in research and development of eco-friendly cars. Concept cars also allow the industry to display vehicles that are no longer using conventional energy sources and thus turning environmental friendly in true sense. The 45th Tokyo Motor Show that dropped its curtain last weekend at Tokyo’s Big Site exhibition center was a glittering display of such vehicles along with many latest models heading for the market. The display also could show the audience very clearly where the automobile industry is heading towards in coming days.

 

The main theme of this year’s motor show was “Beyond the Motor.” Experts and motor car enthusiast are predicting that in the near future motor vehicles may become very different from what we are familiar with. They are also hoping that in the process of evolution, automobiles of the future will be able to move much more than just people and objects: they are destined to be able to move the society forward, transcending previous limitations to provide greater possibilities. And this is what the organizers of the Tokyo Motor Show see the perception that lies behind the theme “Beyond the Motor.”

 

A total of 153 companies and organizations from 10 countries exhibited products and services at this year’s event and 380 vehicles were displayed, including 64 for the first time.  At the center of attraction were Japan’s heavyweight domestic manufacturers like Toyota, Lexus, Daihatsu, Nissan, Mazda, Honda, Subaru, Suzuki and Mitsubishi, along with overseas giants like Mercedes, Porsche, Peugeot, Citroen, Volvo, BMW, Volkswagen and Audi. Notable absentees this year were car manufacturers from the United States and UK.

 

Among Japan’s leading car manufacturers, Toyota Motor Corp. unveiled its new fuel cell concept car that it says has a 50 percent greater range than the Maria, world’s first mass-produced hydrogen fuel cell vehicle that the company unveiled in 2014. Nissan Motor Company, a leading electric vehicle maker, unveiled its Leaf Gismo concept car. Gismo is Nissan’s own version of state of the art technology that the company named “Nissan Intelligent Mobility.” Nissan’s leaf is currently the best-selling electric car in the world.

 

For Subaru this was the first motor show after the company changed its name from Fuji Heavy Industry to Subaru Corporation. The company exhibited seven new models produced using its own cutting edge technology perception VIZIV, which has been derived from the phrase “Vision for Innovation.” Honda’s three concept cars depicted the future of electric vehicles; while Mitsubishi unveiled its concept model of Evolution, a high performance all electric crossovers SUV. Both Honda and Mitsubishi were in deep trouble for most of the time in recent years and are yet to come totally out of that black hole.

 

Two of the Japanese manufacturers of relatively smaller cars, Daihatsu and Suzuki, had shown their strong presence with new concept vehicles. Daihatsu’s DN Company is a concept car that inherited the 1963 design by Italian Criteria Signaled. Equipped with a turbocharged engine and a hybrid driver-train, it retains the stylish design of the past. Suzuki’s slick concept SUV e-survivor features an independent four-wheel drive system with four motors.

 

The Motor show this year also had showcasing of the new era of commercial vehicles as well as motor bikes that the organizers termed as small-sized mobility machines. Besides, there were a number of parallel events to allow the visitors experiencing test ride and test drive. Also were on display motor parts and components, as well as IT incorporation in vehicles. Japan’s leading component producer, JTKET, for example, had displayed a cut-away model of Lexus LC 500, to show the JTKET technology incorporated into the car. Company claims that the enhanced technical capabilities of its steering systems and driver-line products achieve a safe and comfortable drive by harmonizing the driver and the car. There also had been Indian participation this year. Motherson Innovation produces dashboards and other components applying the IT and company’s booth had saree-clad Japanese ladies explaining products and services that it offers.

 

The number of visitors to this year’s Tokyo Motor Show totaled 771,200, down 5.1 percent from the last show two years ago. According to Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, the drop in visitor numbers reflected bad weather as heavy rain from a typhoon affected Tokyo while the show was on. The next Tokyo Motor Show will be held in autumn 2019.

 

(Tokyo, 12 November 2017)

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