If you love cars and motorcycles, the Tokyo Motor Show is one of those events which is always worth attending. It's home ground for 15 automakers, hundreds of automotive component manufacturers, and the highest concentration of R&D for every facet of public and personal transport in the world.
The title of the world's most important automotive show is one that has regularly been passed around, with Tokyo, Detroit (NAIAS) and the annually alternating Paris/Frankfurt, and Beijing/Shanghai events, all having held the mantle at some time in the past three decades.
With six manufacturers in the top 15 automotive manufacturers in the world (Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Suzuki, Mazda and Mitsubishi), Japan is still one of the automotive powerhouses, though China is now the largest producer and consumer of cars and motorcycles, and India's star is also on the rise. Logically, the show that influences the most consumers and producers should be the most important, and hence Tokyo is still a top three show.
That list is just for starters though, as there are a lot more manufacturers with strong global brands built from decades of building reliable machinery such as Daihatsu, Subaru, Hino, Isuzu, Kawasaki, Yamaha, Fuso and UD.
In all, Japan can boast 14 important global names in the transport and personal transport industries and there are a host of smaller manufacturers set to play a vital role as the development of personal transport continues its trend towards truly personal one- and two-person transport.
The world's roads are headed for gridlock if everyone in emerging countries is to have the freedom of transport enjoyed previously by the people of America, western Europe and a select few advanced economies, over the next decade or two.
The entire system needs an overhaul and new modes of transport with a smaller footprint and far greater energy efficiency. If the grid is to adequately support electric vehicles, Japan will provide most of the answers – I counted more than a dozen different manufacturers of home recharging systems on display at the famous Big Sight venue in Tokyo.
What's more, the country is well advanced in many of the areas which will become vitally important over the next few decades.
In particular, Japan's massive R&D expenditure on robotics and autonomous systems, intelligent public road infrastructure (both vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure), intelligent driver aids and information systems, electric and fuel-cell vehicles, fuel and energy efficiency technologies, composites and other materials sciences, and hundreds of smaller facets of one of the world's biggest industries.
In particular, the Japanese producers of personal transport are among the most creative in the sphere and their concept vehicles in general, and in the area of micro vehicles for transporting one or two people in particular, are the most interesting.
The Tokyo Motor Show is a motor show like no other, and we've been scouring the show floor to bring you the best of what's on display at the 2013 event.
Click through to the galleryto see our pictorial overview.
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