The 2009 Tokyo Motor Show was a pretty big letdown punctuated by pockets of expectation and amazement. Without doubt everyone was expectantly anticipating the arrival of cars like the Lexus LFA and the Toyota FT86 but there was no denying the fact that the Makuhari Messe was empty, especially by TMS standards. The Makuhari Messe is a massive venue and became even more cavernous with the absence of almost every European and American automotive manufacturer.
German automakers are looking for a way out of participating in the Tokyo motor show, but no one wants to be the first to announce it, according to Automotive News Europe.
The industry publication is reporting that BMW and Mercedes-Benz have both decided to withdraw from the show in order to cut costs and that Volkswagen and supplier Robert Bosch have not yet rendered a decision on the matter.
The German automotive industry paper Automobilwoche is also reporting that, according to its sources, Audi has followed suit and will pull out too, but has not yet officially announced the decision. The report says that automakers in Germany have discussed the matter with each other.
US automakers Ford, General Motors and Chrysler have already withdrawn from the Tokyo show, as have Volvo, Saab, Peugeot, Fiat, Jaguar and Land Rover. At one point, the body that oversees the bi-annual event had considered canceling it but as of now, the show is still on, although the lack of European participation may change that.
From Honda the emphasis was all about its companys focus on personal mobility and desire to promote and develop hybrid, environmentally friendly vehicles. From the automotive side, the Skydeck is a very stylish 6-person Hybrid van and headlines a line of other green fuel cages. On the motorcycle side the new VFR1200F with its Dual Clutch Transmission and signature V-Four engine along with the retro-styled, air-cooled Inline-Four CB1100 lead the way. But, as usual, the truly unique products Honda offers made the biggest impact with attending press.
The U3-X is a high-tech unicycle cum robot that is intended to make the daily walk or commute in town an adventure of sorts. It rolls on a single wheel and utilizes balance technology perfected in the ASIMO robot. There were other robotic assistance robots on display but this one garnered the most attention. Beyond this the focus of what was undoubtedly the most substantial display on the floor, pushed Hondas wide array of motorcycles and the technology that has made them such a huge success over the past 50 years.
Part of that success was capitalizing on the needs of the consumers and thats exactly what Hondas engineering department is focused on this year, particularly in the electric vehicle arena. Specifically, a pair of scooters - the electric EVE-neo and the PCX scooter that features idle-stop electronics - always gathered a crowd.
Over at Yamaha the big presentation featured the Art of Engineering. In this philosophy the hot topics were the Smart Power scooter and bicycle-styled experimental vehicles on display in front of the true core of Yamahas business: The V-Max R1, Road Star cruiser, new YZ450F and, of course, the world-conquering YZR-M1 MotoGP machine.
But the EC-f and ECfs electric scooters were the cool items. The crowd was ga-ga for them with their X-shape, futuristic design elements. These machines seem to have real potential if they ever make it into production. Otherwise, Yamaha was really tooting its own horn by focusing on what its doing right and what the engineers are working on for the future, rather than what environmentally friendly items they are bringing to the table right now.
Suzuki on the other hand seems to be really focused on the Go Green theme. So much so, that the combination of green technology and retro-themed automobiles at its display area seem to be the emphasis for this company starting right now. Suzukis pushed its plug-in Hybrid Suzuki Swift automobile and the hydrogen Fuel Cell vehicles, including a Fuel Cell-equipped Burgman scooter. The air-cooled Fuel Cell powering this Burgman appears to be positioned as one of the first clean energy powered motorcycles/scooters unleashed on the public. This will be a real barometer of where the consumers stand on moving toward Clean Energy when this particular model is released, so keep your eyes peeled on this one.
Beyond the Japanese manufacturers the assortment of scoters from companies like Kymco, Pasta and the three-wheeled Can-Am Spyder series all were in attendance promoting their fuel-efficient vehicles in the latest trim. Stay tuned for a follow up report that shows some of the specific models we touched on here along with a video from the 41st Tokyo Motor Show. Stay tuned.
sources from: www.tokyo-motorshow.com