Compact, fuel-efficient cars will be in the spotlight at this year’s edition of the Tokyo Motor Show, which starts on Wednesday.
Even though Japan’s car industry has taken a triple hit from the global crisis, the March natural disasters and the record-strong yen, this year’s show venue will be double the size of that at the last edition, which was organized in 2009. Moreover, this year’s show will host 176 exhibitors from a dozen countries, compared with 129 firms from 10 countries in 2009.
"The Japanese market is still important for European carmakers that are interested in environmental technologies such as electric and hybrid cars," said Tatsuya Mizuno, a vehicle industry expert and director at Mizuno Credit Advisory in Tokyo.
A number of large industry players who missed at the 2009 edition are back this year. Among them, French carmakers Peugeot-Citroen and Renault, Germany’s BMW, Mercedes, Porsche and Volkswagen and Great Britain’s Jaguar and Land Rover.
US and South Korean carmakers, apart from Hyundai, are however not participating at the show.
"The Japanese market is less attractive than before, not only for foreign manufacturers but also for the Japanese gradually moving their production sites abroad (to save costs)," Mizuno acknowledged.