The biennial Tokyo Motor Show is the crown-jewel showcase of the Japanese automotive industry—almost exclusively, with very little participation of foreign makers or suppliers.
This year, multiple exhibition spaces housed exciting new concepts in EVs, kei cars, mobility appliances including robo-taxis and new kinds of vans, and an open-road park with micro mobility test drives. There was a special Future Expo section with predictive visions of Japan’s near future, with the newest innovations and promising technologies around mobility, city life, sports, retail, new energy…real life, really, in context of the 2020 Olympics next summer there in Tokyo.
The automotive supply industry was out in force, with about a hundred tier-1 and -2 suppliers and material specialists. Unlike the car brands, here there was significant presence of major international suppliers—Faurecia, Schaeffler, Mahle, Continental, and Bosch, for example.
Toyota was presenting many different mobility tools along the different sections, and was positioned in the main hall as a city planner on a backdrop of science fiction-like stages with demonstrations of new mobility ideas—scooters, the e-palette, and the magic broom, to list a few. That said, Toyota took a half-step back and let their suppliers do most of the interior technology show-and-tell, centered around a Toyota Boshoku interior project collaboration.
Suzuki, Daihatsu, and to a lesser extent Nissan and Mitsubishi strongly
positioned their exhibits around happy, fun lifestyles through themes such as
WakuWaku (trembling with happiness) for Suzuki, or WaiWai (an excited
expression, like “Woohoo!”) with Daihatsu. In this philosophy, cars
are to provide energy, freedom, and happiness for people and communities;
obviously the interior is a key enabler through spacious versatility and
freedom of movement, convenient storage, shiny colors and attractive surfaces,
activity centers for children and adults, and otherwise like that.
All in all, it was a terrific show. Following extended in-depth is reporting on the major automaker displays here in the newsletter, we’ll be releasing a comprehensive DVN-I Report in December—including a thorough introduction of the Japanese interior supplier ecosystem and market.
If you haven’t yet been to the new DVN-Interior website, do give it a look; there’s a convenient subscription button, and you can easily register for the DVN-I Munich Workshop taking place next January with the rubric “Automotive Interiors: New Technologies for New Usages”. workshop.