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In pictures: The 2013 Tokyo Motor Show


November 25, 2013

The pick of the best concept cars at TMS 2013 at different, arrestingly beautiful, more efficient aerodynamically and hence more frugal with energy and fuel, easier on tires - Nissan's BladeGlider Concept is in my mind, the "hamburger with the lot"

The pick of the best concept cars at TMS 2013 at different, arrestingly beautiful, more efficient aerodynamically and hence more frugal with energy and fuel, easier on tires - Nissan's BladeGlider Concept is in my mind, the "hamburger with the lot"

Image Gallery (151 images)

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.

About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon

IMO, if the X-Lander concept was sold in America, I don't think Suzuki would have left the American market. I think it is really nice.


Having the photographer trying to capture the subject rather than photographs as art is nice.


Good Job, Mike Hanlon! I guess it is near impossible to cover everything at the TMS but there is another Toyota key exhibit -a fourth one- to the right of the Jpn taxi concept, a tilting covered (tandem?) 3-wheeler, which I think should have merited a few words and at least one photo (seen doing circles for a few seconds at the tail end of this BBC report http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-25026322).

Isn't the future of transport in vehicles such as these?

[Ed note: Gizmag detailed the Toyota i-Road when it was revealed at Geneva in March - http://www.gizmag.com/toyota-i-road-full-enclosed-tilting-electric-three-wheeler/26498/]


Many thanks for this extensive review Mike. Reminiscing a bit, I attended the 10th Tokyo Motor Show in 1963. I was told while there that I was the first "Western" freelance journalist to attend the show. Major items I recall was Honda's very first car with spine chassis, 600cc East West motor I think. Also Yamaha announced their Autolube, the first 2-stroke manufacturer to move away from pre-mix for 2-stroke engines. Most of the cars & some of the motorcycles were near copies of Western makes models. When I sent the photos & editorial to a British motor magazine they published just a small column & photo of the Honda car, with an editorial comment to say something like "The British motor Industry has nothing to worry about from the Asian vehicles". How wrong they were!

BTW about a year ago you did an article on the 25th anniversary of the World Superbike Championship. Actually the series was instigated & started a couple of years earlier than that by an American, an Australian & 2 New Zealanders. I have more details if you would like a read. Tim

Timing Tim
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