The 44th Tokyo Motor Show kicked off last week, providing visitors a glimpse on the latest trends in automobiles as well as the future of vehicles and mobility.
Held at the Tokyo Big Sight in the Odaiba District, the biannual event features 30 vehicle manufacturers from all over the world together with 130 other exhibitors from allied industries such as car accessory and auto parts suppliers.
The show opened on October 28 for the press preview and opened its doors to the public on October 30 until November 8.
Manufacturers including Mitsubishi, Toyota, Suzuki, BMW, Peugeot, Isuzu, Audi, Porsche, Mazda, Honda, Nissan, BMW, Jeep and Yamaha displayed their latest line-ups, which included cutting-edge environmentally friendly vehicles and concept models, giving visitors a look at the possible cars of tomorrow and key technologies like autonomous driving.
The 44th Tokyo Motor Show also showcased a large-scale exhibition called Smart Mobility City, where visitors get the chance to ride in some of the newest cars as well as attend a number of conferences where experts talk about the future of mobility.
Toyokazu Ishida, the director general of Tokyo Motor Show Office at the Japan Automobile Manufacturer’s Association (JAMA), noted that the main attractions during the event are the latest models and newest technologies from carmakers.
Ishida disclosed that 76 cars made their world premieres at the TMS, including 67 from domestic makers.
Environmentally-friendly cars get attention
Among the vehicles on display, concepts and the latest environmentally friendly cars garnered the most attention.
Mitsubishi Motors Corporation, placed their electric vehicles (EVs) in the spotlight, with the Mitsubishi EX Compact SUV Concept taking center stage. The sport utility vehicle or SUV Concept is 100-percent electrically powered having all-wheel control technologies combined with automated driving, connected car and active safety technologies.
Toyota Motor Corporation unveiled several concept vehicles, including the FCV Plus, a hydrogen-powered car with unconventional looks; the S-FR, a compact sports car; and the KIKAI, which brings together a mix of retro and futuristic designs. Toyota also introduced its fourth-generation Prius hybrid that can travel up to 40 kilometers per liter.
Nissan Motor Co. displayed the electric “kei” car (subcompact), the Teatro for Dayz, and the Gripz Concept, which is a compact sport crossover the company unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show last September. Also on display was their flagship EV Leaf.
Honda Motor Co. also showed off its latest fuel cell vehicle to promote green technology, with sports cars, such as the NSX, the Civic Type R and the S660, headlining their display.
BMW also held the world premiere of its M4 GTS sport coupe. The maker also promoted the 330e and the 225xe plug-in hybrids.
Even as Volkswagen came under fire for emission regulatory violations, the German auto giant still presented visitors with 17 cars, including the firm’s first plug-in hybrid, the Golf GTE.
The lone US manufacturer at the TMS was Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, which is their first time to participate in eight years.
Moreover, seven motorcycle makers, including Kawasaki Motors Corp. and Yamaha Motor Co., presented their bikes with the latest technologies.
The TMS also provides opportunities for visitors to hop in for test-drives with automotive journalists. There were 38 cars from 22 companies and 28 motorcycles from six makers available.
Future of mobility
While the cars are indeed the main attraction of the Tokyo Motor Show, the Smart Mobility City exhibition enabled the visitors to see and experience what transportation may look like in the coming years.
The Smart Mobility City replicated a possible future city, taking up 6,480 square meters.
“When visitors walk into the Smart Mobility City area, they’ll probably feel as if they were strolling in the city of the future,” Toyokazu Ishida, assistant director general of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association Inc. (JAMA), said.
“As Tokyo will host the 2020 summer Olympics and Paralympics, we’d like to give some insight into how mobility will be changing” with the Smart Mobility City, he added.
The large-scale exhibition consists of 23 companies and organizations that showcase their technologies for future mobility.
At the moment, one of the biggest technological trends in the industry is autonomous driving, with many carmakers aiming to produce self-driving cars in the coming years.
The Smart Mobility City is situated right outside the Tokyo Big Sight where various autonomous driving systems are being demonstrated.
There are also opportunities to ride personal mobility devices, such as Toyota’s Winglet, Honda’s Uni-Cub and Ninebot’s Ninebot E.
The Tokyo Motor Show attracted 902,800 visitors in 2013 and JAMA hopes to improve on that number this time.
According to Ishida, JAMA pushed the schedule about three weeks forward compared to 2013.
In the past, the motor show was held toward the end of November and the beginning of December, so the use of outside spaces was limited because of cold temperatures.
Since this time of year is not as cold, Ishida said there would be food stands outside that will feature fare from famous restaurants selected by gourmet bloggers.
Ishida added that it will be more convenient for visitors to get around Tokyo Big Sight, as shuttle buses will be running between the east and west sides of the venue.