The Tokyo Motor Show

January 7, 2012
“Kuruma otaku” (car geeks) of Japan, in whose number I proudly stand up to be counted, eagerly await the biennial Tokyo Motor Show. 2011 marks the third time I have made the pilgrimage. The 2007 show was amazing, easily the largest and most diverse gathering of new cars I have ever seen at one time. The 2009 show, not so much; thanks to the lagging economy, many of the major players bowed out, leaving lingering doubts about the future of the auto industry as a whole. For 2011, however, the auto makers are back with a vengeance, displaying daring (and often downright weird) prototypes, high-zoot luxo-rides, and a wide variety of crossover “lifestyle” vehicles. Many of these offer non-mainstream fuel sources: hybrid gas/electric; plug-in electric; solar; CNG, and more. If r-and-d guys ever find a way to extract power from the stars, it is a safe bet that a Suzuki Starlight, a Nissan Nebula or a Toyota Twinkle will grace the Tokyo Motor Show the following year.

In the time-honored tradition of letting the pictures do the talking, here are some photos of this year’s (okay, technically last year’s) Tokyo Motor Show:

Tokyo Big Sight, Home of the Tokyo Motor Show


The Tokyo Big Sight saw sculpture


There are cars, and then there are CARS


Tokyo FM was on hand, or more to the point, "on ear"...


Cruising around the gymkhana area, note the cool blue Renault


My next car, if they make a convertible this color...


BMW makes eco sexy!


But they may have lost the thread with the new matte-finish paint...


The show's most anticipated vehicle, the Toyota FunVII


Time out


Count on tiny Daihatsu to bring some fun to the show...


This Daihatsu makes the Nissan Cube look positively spherical...


Suzuki channels its inner Citroen


Is it a really small car? Is it a really big CD player?


Honda steps up its game


R2D2 on steroids


Channel your inner hippie with VW's new microbus


Smart car, with optional cheese grater grille and roof


These colors just shouldn't work together, but somehow they do


I like this Nissan a lot; let's hope it sees production!


Possibly the prettiest (get ready for this...) Mazda (!) ever

And, if a new car is not on your horizon in the immediate future, perhaps I can interest you in a motorcycle, a scooter, or a push bike: