There is a slimmed down turnout at this year’s Tokyo Motor Show with hardly any foreign car brands present.
Most European carmakers prefer instead to concentrate their efforts on the Shanghai Motor Show next April. China is set to overtake the US as the world’s biggest car market this year. Imported vehicles account for just seven percent of sales in Japan. The only European companies at the show are Lotus, Caterham and Alpina. Nissan executive Tatsuya Shiosaki explained: “With the world economy going downhill, it’s quite costly to exhibit overseas. There’s also the question of where manufacturers focus their efforts between the Japanese, Chinese, and American markets. It’s a question that has to take into account these factors.” Japanese carmakers are focusing on hybrid and electric vehicles. Even though they are still unveiling concept cars at the Tokyo show, the Japanese Automobile Manufacturers Association said sales of new vehicles this year in Japan will be down eight percent on last year, at their lowest in over three decades.