Login | Register
SearchMy Stuff
My ProfileMy PreferencesMy Mates RSS Feed
Thursday 1st December 2011

Feature: Tokyo Motor Show 2011

Our man in Japan reports in, proving there's more going on in Tokyo than the launch of that Toyobaru



Toyota
There's a wave of revival running through the Japanese car industry. It has realised it was becoming too dull, as happens during a recession, and then it was hit by first the east-coast earthquake and then the floods in Taiwan, where many suppliers have factories. So the industry is fighting back, and cars to engage the driver are back on the agenda.

The 'Fun Vehicle Interactive Internet'
The 'Fun Vehicle Interactive Internet'
"If a car is not fun, it's not a car," said Toyota president Akio Toyoda at the Tokyo show. He is determined to re-ignite younger buyers' interest in cars: "They go, they stop, they turn and they connect," he says of the cars Toyota is planning to achieve this aim.

One such is a concept car called Fun-Vii (Fun Vehicle Interactive Internet). If it all works as its creators imagine, this three-seater electric sports coupe can display any image on its complete surface as sent to it from a smartphone, and its sat-nav system's instructions come from a 3-D hologram of a speaking woman. It could link to other Fun-Viis or exchange data with them.

'Fun to drive, again' is Toyota's new slogan, and the idea is that it will apply to all Toyotas and not just the sporting ones, of which the GT 86 is the obvious new example. Another Tokyo Toyota debut was the FCV-R, a family-size fuel cell car with two hydrogen tanks for a decent range and a compact fuel cell stack to improve space. Its walrus-like face is said to improve aerodynamics.

You'll know what this is...
You'll know what this is...
The FCV-R enters limited production in 2015, fuelled by hydrogen that's an abundant by-product of Japan's industry. There's enough to power five million fuel cell cars, apparently.

Finally, the Toyota iQ took on its third guise as the FT-EV III, an electric version showing the trapezoidal nose treatment that is to become Toyota's rather Ford-like new face. Its range is said to be about 65 miles, but there's no word on an Aston Martin version.

FCV-R
FCV-R
FTEV III
FTEV III

Honda

RCE electric bike
RCE electric bike
Honda, too, is trying to get interesting again. There was no further word on the future semi-supercar except that the production version will be at next March's Geneva show and it won't be called NSX, but new chief executive Takanobu Ito talks of 'sharp, edgy projects' including an electric version of the rapid RC motorbike.

Aside from the N-BOX range, three square micro-MPVs and a neat hatchback inspired by the 1960s N600, the main news was the EV-STER electric sports car. This miniature two-seater has rear-wheel drive and vertical handlebars, plus a part-carbonfibre structure and the usual internet connectivity. It's good for about 100 miles before a sub-3hr recharge, although not at the 100mph top speed. The 0-37mph time is 5.7sec so it's not exactly quick. Production is unlikely in this form, but a petrol-engined version would make a great latter-day Honda Beat.

N Concept
N Concept
EV-STER
EV-STER

Mazda

Mazda Takeri
Mazda Takeri
Mazda's Skyactiv technology, keeping weight down and moving it with very efficient engines, is a no-brainer in its relevance to how cars need to be, but the first complete Skyactiv car, the CX-5 compact SUV revealed at Frankfurt, is no beauty. What a relief, then, that the Takeri concept car is a cracker, sleek and handsome and pretty much the next Mazda 6. Meanwhile, the lightweight and under-rated Mazda 2 gets a small Skyactiv engine for Japan but can't be sold in LHD countries because its exhaust manifold won't fit in an LHD car. And although we're RHD, we probably won't get it here either. Shame.

Suzuki
Sometimes a show star comes from nowhere, and the Suzuki Regina is it.

Suzuki Regina. Regal...
Suzuki Regina. Regal...
With shades of Panhard and Citroen Bijou in its styling, the 800cc hybrid with CVT transmission weighs just 730kg and is very aerodynamic. CO2 output is 70g/km, and far from being just a concept it's a pointer to Suzuki's next global compact car.

Suzuki, meanwhile, is trying to extricate itself from its disastrous and fruitless collaboration with Volkswagen by buying back the shares that VW holds. "'You don't go into a Sumo match and expect not to win," said executive vice-president Osamu Honda (no relation, probably).

Nissan
Major Nissan interest centres on the official arrival of the Nismo performance brand in Europe, beginning with a Nismo-enhanced Juke. Tokyo also saw a Nismo-bodykitted Leaf and a Leaf-based Nismo racing coupé, but the main interest was in Pivo 3, the third in a series of urban microcars able to manoeuvre in unfeasibly tight spaces.

Nismo Juke
Nismo Juke
Pivos 1 and 2 had a body section able to swivel round 180 degrees and wheels able to steer so much that the car could rotate in its own length. Pivo 3 is more normal but still has extreme four-wheel steering for a four-metre turning circle. It seats three, has an electric motor in each wheel and could yet make production.

The handsome Esflow electric sports coupé, revealed at Geneva, made a reappearance, promising a 150-mile range and 0-62mph in under 5sec. Despite having the proportions of a front-engined car, it has two mid-mounted motors driving the rear wheels.

Stay tuned for further updates on Subaru, Suzuki, Volkswagen and more...

johnsimister
2
Reply to Topic
Author Discussion

dele

Original Poster:

1,047 posts

81 months

[news] 
Thursday 1st December 2011 quote quote all
How very dull

stanza

79 posts

113 months

[news] 
Thursday 1st December 2011 quote quote all
dele said:
How very dull
+1hurl So many cars that have been hit by the ugly tree in one place.

McSpud

39 posts

79 months

[news] 
Thursday 1st December 2011 quote quote all
Honda confirms its position as the kings of the frumpy, dumpy design language.

LuS1fer

31,784 posts

132 months

[news] 
Thursday 1st December 2011 quote quote all
It's wrong but I do like that Suzuki Va....er...Regina REeal (ah, shades of Reliant) and prefer the styling to most modern bloaterminis like the DS3.

Something like that with a small petrol would do me nicely as a commuter.

robinessex

1,968 posts

68 months

[news] 
Thursday 1st December 2011 quote quote all
My gawd, what a succesion of ugly cars. At this rate, I'm going to find a Citroen SM, strip it to a bare shell, have it fully re-built, and enjoy !!
Advertisement

insideimsmiling

94 posts

63 months

[news] 
Thursday 1st December 2011 quote quote all
Suzuki Regina, love the looks its modern retro feel would compete well with others in that field & yes the visual link to Panhards is clear. The only thing there that i would like to see on UK roads apart from the compact Honda.

MonkeyMatt

5,330 posts

94 months

[news] 
Thursday 1st December 2011 quote quote all
Quite like the Mazda

soad

20,078 posts

63 months

[news] 
Thursday 1st December 2011 quote quote all
Suzuki Regina looks interesting, should be amusing to drive - imagine all the looks hehe

Bike caught the eye, but it's electric frown

Mr Gear

9,135 posts

77 months

[news] 
Thursday 1st December 2011 quote quote all
Absolutely love the Suzuki Regina. The Japs sure have a good sense of imagination. They have a reputation in this country for producing dull but worthy cars, but the reality is they produce the most forward-thinking tech and really allow designers to go wild on the styling.

stew-S160

6,541 posts

125 months

[news] 
Thursday 1st December 2011 quote quote all
Suzuki Vagina.

Twincam16

27,646 posts

145 months

[news] 
Thursday 1st December 2011 quote quote all
What's with this obssession with 'connectivity?' I do find the notion rather patronising that all young people ever do 24/7 is send things to each other via smartphone, and that everything in their lives somehow 'needs' to connect to all these things. Why the hell would I want to send and receive data while driving? Surely I'd be, well, driving? And as for phone connectivity - well I have this amazing gadget called a 'hands-free kit', and amazingly it's no more complicated than a set of headphones.

What I suspect young people really want in a car is something simple, small, cheap to run, fun to drive, that actually looks cool rather than like their grandmother's runabout, and more to the point, that they can afford to buy. When you're under 25 and on your first job, you can't afford to spend what amounts to half your salary on a base-model supermini.

Most car designers (as opposed to marketers and salesmen) will tell you it'd be perfectly possible (and clearly is in many world markets) to sell a brand-new car for all of £3500. Something like that, fundamentally simple and cheap but very cool-looking and eye-catching, makes more sense in the youth market than an ugly iPad with wheels.

Mr Gear

9,135 posts

77 months

[news] 
Thursday 1st December 2011 quote quote all
Twincam16 said:
What's with this obssession with 'connectivity?' I do find the notion rather patronising that all young people ever do 24/7 is send things to each other via smartphone, and that everything in their lives somehow 'needs' to connect to all these things. Why the hell would I want to send and receive data while driving? Surely I'd be, well, driving? And as for phone connectivity - well I have this amazing gadget called a 'hands-free kit', and amazingly it's no more complicated than a set of headphones.
Ah well that's where you're wrong granddad! My experience of driving down the m1 yesterday was one where about 1 in 10 people were fking around with their smartphones instead of actually concentrating on driving.

Facebook status update: "Why duz every1 undertake me?! LOLZ!111111"

Twincam16

27,646 posts

145 months

[news] 
Thursday 1st December 2011 quote quote all
Mr Gear said:
Twincam16 said:
What's with this obssession with 'connectivity?' I do find the notion rather patronising that all young people ever do 24/7 is send things to each other via smartphone, and that everything in their lives somehow 'needs' to connect to all these things. Why the hell would I want to send and receive data while driving? Surely I'd be, well, driving? And as for phone connectivity - well I have this amazing gadget called a 'hands-free kit', and amazingly it's no more complicated than a set of headphones.
Ah well that's where you're wrong granddad! My experience of driving down the m1 yesterday was one where about 1 in 10 people were fking around with their smartphones instead of actually concentrating on driving.

Facebook status update: "Why duz every1 undertake me?! LOLZ!111111"
hehe/rolleyes I know what you mean. Almost makes me wish I could gently swipe their door or something, just to shock them into paying attention.

loomx

324 posts

112 months

[news] 
Thursday 1st December 2011 quote quote all
So Much UGLY!

geoffracing

617 posts

62 months

[news] 
Thursday 1st December 2011 quote quote all

In Belgium anyway it is forbidden to phone while driving.
This doesn't meant that there aren't many people who do...

But with today's traffic, one should
CONCENTRATE more than ever on the road,
and not on the message from your friend mentioning which film he would like to see with you in the evening.

The Japanese are so gadget-minded ; they love fully-equipped little buzzers ; but do we want them over here?

ellisd82

668 posts

95 months

[news] 
Thursday 1st December 2011 quote quote all
EV-STER is about the only thing doesn't look totally crap!

Carnnoisseur

525 posts

41 months

[news] 
Friday 2nd December 2011 quote quote all
Yawn

kayzee

1,137 posts

68 months

[news] 
Friday 2nd December 2011 quote quote all
N Concept looks cool!

Probably the best picture I've seen of the GT86 as well.

Mr Gear

9,135 posts

77 months

[news] 
Friday 2nd December 2011 quote quote all

Bodo

9,473 posts

153 months

[news] 
Friday 2nd December 2011 quote quote all
Twincam16 said:
What I suspect young people really want in a car is something simple, small, cheap to run, fun to drive, that actually looks cool rather than like their grandmother's runabout, and more to the point, that they can afford to buy. When you're under 25 and on your first job, you can't afford to spend what amounts to half your salary on a base-model supermini.
What they want is a sports car or a camper van; what they need is a super mini, and what they can afford is not a new car. And guess what? It's been like this for the last fifty years, since young people started considering owning a car.
2
Reply to Topic