2013 Tokyo Motor Show overview image

Someone should get the organisations which represent motor show organisers and those acting on behalf or manufacturers together and lock them in a room until they sort themselves out.

How ludicrous that there were international shows in Tokyo and Los Angeles taking place on the same day (once time differences have been factored in) while a third local show went on in Guangzhou, China.

It’s probably hoping too much to get the Chinese to comply, and Tokyo happens only every two years while LA is an annual event, but if the two internationally listed exhibitions want to co-exist peacefully there needs to be some separation.

The fault lies on both sides. Tokyo used to take place in October but has now slipped back to mid-November, while the Americans are stealthily moving LA and the Detroit Show in January further apart.

What it means is that both Tokyo and LA tend to get undervalued while the manufacturer exhibition and PR teams are stretched to the limit. There must have been a lot of phones unanswered in a lot of offices these past few days…

Those who had the resources and personnel doubled up and did simultaneous introductions. Others had to pick and choose. The heres, theres and everywheres included MINI with the third-generation hatch, Jaguar (F-TYPE coupe) and Porsche (Macan).

In the circumstances, Tokyo was a good show. Every domestic manufacturer turned up, and the Europeans are starting to come back in reasonable numbers after staying away almost en masse in 2009 following the banking collapse.

There were plenty of interesting debuts, too, while the pie-in-the-sky alternative fuel concepts of four and six years ago have made way for reality. Hybrids, plug-in hybrids and EVs are either already here or just around the corner, and those manufacturers seriously involved in fuel cells have declared their hand as far as production is concerned.

In an upstairs hall there was a Smart Mobility City exhibition, which brought together a gaggle of Renault Twizy-alikes, e-scooters, personal mobility ideas like the Honda Uni-Cub, connectivity and autonomous driving prototypes and even a Formula-e single-seater, but most of it had some grasp of reality.

In the main halls the Germans went for power (Mercedes S65 AMG, the first motor show display of the BMW M4 Coupe Concept, Porsche Panamera Turbo S and an Audi stand dedicated solely to S and RS models except for the 2014 A3 e-tron) while almost everyone else had at least one eye on SUVs and crossovers. Inevitably, there was a good smattering of eccentric new boxy offerings to meet Japan’s restrictive K-car regulations, while the fuel economy champion was VW’s twin up!, which nominally achieves 256mpg thanks to an uprated version of the XL-1 prototype’s diesel-electric drivetrain.


The style leaders were BMW’s new 4 Series Cabriolet (Convertible in the UK and Europe) and Honda’s lovely little S660 Roadster concept, which will become reality in 2015, but only for Japan. The eyesores were Daihatsu’s fuel cell FC-deck cab-over concept or any of the Mitsubishi SUV style studies – XR, AR, GC and GR.

Text: Matt Moore – Headline Auto co uk

Full Tokyo Motor Show coverage here