The annual Tokyo Auto Show in (where else?) Tokyo, Japan, has always been a high tech showcase and the most important show for their domestic automakers. While the Tokyo show has faded somewhat in Asia due to the importance of the massive Chinese car market, Japan is looking to take back their thunder this year’s event, October 29 to November 6.
The theme is “Technology & Fantasy” and both are something the Japanese are excellent at, turning into incredibly cool designs. “Your Heart Will Race,” declares the promotional tagline, and they aren’t kidding. There will be a huge number of production and concept vehicles from every major Japanese manufacturer, and several foreign ones, on display. In addition to the home team, the British, Germans, and Italians are showing up in force.
Jeep marks a return to Japan for the first time in almost 10 years. The Detroit automakers dropped out during the recession and Jeep is the only American brand to return this year as part of FCA’s multi vehicle display. Japan seems to have an interest in the rough and ready American icons, as sales are way up this year. Odds are the popular Renegade will be on display, possibly in a new trim level.
The new Mercedes S-Class really stepped up this year, so Lexus confirmed an all-new LS sedan will debut at the Tokyo show. Details are still limited, but it should feature an evolution of the current Lexus design, V6 and V8 engines, as well as a hybrid power option. Interestingly, this car is said to feature autonomous driving, which seems about right for the price range.
Toyota leads the way with excitement this year. While the GT86 has wonderful reviews, sales have been rather flat. Rumors point to Toyota bringing a new sports car to Tokyo that will be entry level and priced well below the GT86 mid-$20k range. Little is confirmed, but the small sports car is said to be well under the weight of the Mazda Miata and have a small and efficient four cylinder.
Suzuki is using the Tokyo show to introduce the next generation Swift. The compact car (most popularly known in the US a few generations back as the Geo Metro) is set to debut a concept that shows the direction of the next production car. The concept is a hybrid, with an electric motor and a turbocharged four cylinder. It also features all-wheel drive and a rally suspension and design. Expect the concept to have a similar look, but without the turbo and limited to front-wheel drive.
If your transportation interests lie elsewhere, check out the various commercial vehicles from Isuzu, Volvo, and others. Bikers will enjoy all the motorcycles on display, from the expected Honda and Kawasaki, to the unexpected Can-Am and Indian. There are also several dozen tool manufacturers and service providers throughout the show.
If you are in Japan and have the time, the Tokyo show is well worth the cost. Adult tickets run about $200 USD before student/senior/disability discounts. That’s not a bad price to see first-hand the cutting-edge future of the auto industry.