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Tokyo Motor Show opens with eco-friendly theme; U.S. makers stay away

26 Comments
By Harumi Ozawa

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© 2013 AFP

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Let's not hear any more whining from the American car companies about poor sales in Japan, if they're not even going to bother to show up!

11 ( +18 / -7 )

I love the Subaru Cross Sport Concept aka BRZ Shooting Brake.. Let's hope they make it.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

With the latest climate change warnings from 98% of the world's leading scientists, no car that uses fossil fuels and emits greenhouse gasses can be called "eco-friendly". Bicycles are eco-friendly; cars are eco-uncongenial.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

Let's not hear any more whining from the American car companies about poor sales in Japan, if they're not even going to bother to show up!

They could fight over that 4.5% of 5 million.

Better to concentrate on China instead, where they could fight over 100% of 19 million.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

" Relatively high prices(of hybrid and alternative fuel cars) have also dented demand."

Affordability is a big issue for many buyers.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

But U.S.-based automakers, which have not attended since before the global financial crisis, are again staying away as are South Korean producers, with the exception of Hyundai.

um Tesla is an American Car company and they are at the show....... I think you mean the American "Big 3" car companies (General Motors, Ford and Chrysler) have stayed away.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

I've not even sat in one, but the Chevrolet Spark EV, a plug-in, looks good. Could be a hit in Japan. But, there are reasons why the no-shows are no-shows, tho. It's not about the mullah.

Volvo is no longer Swedish owned. Chinese. And Nissan is Renault. French.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I'm a Monkey

Volvo is no longer Swedish owned. Chinese. And Nissan is Renault. French.

Chinese automaker Geely owns 100% of Volvo so the first part of your statement is true. However, Renault does not "own" Nissan. The two automakers are in an alliance with Renault owning 44% of Nissan and Nissan owning 15% of Renault. These are two very different relationships. Nissan is not French in the same way that you can say that Volvo is Chinese because of its Chinese corporate ownership.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

including parts suppliers from a dozen countries.

"Parts suppliers" AND "exhibitors"? Boy, that seems like a real big show! As other posters have said, there are bigger fish for some companies to fry. They'll show where the money is.

Volvo is no longer Swedish owned. Chinese. And Nissan is Renault. French.

Mazda's flagship R&D/ factory complex is in Mississippi.

It's disingenuous to paint these companies with national colors. This industry has overgrown the border fence lines, and the tariffs may eventually reflect that. It'll be interesting to see what happens then.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

As for Land Rover being British - it's Indian owned, as is Jaguar (TATA owns Jaguar Land Rover). Rolls and Bentley are German. Aston Martin? An Italian investment firm I think.... We MAKE cars in the UK, but only the smaller manufacturers are really British (Morgan, Noble, Caterham, etc)

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Thunderbird2

I've had several Land Rovers over the years and currently drive a Range Rover. How amusing that two of the most iconic British automakers, Jaguar and Land Rover, are now owned by Tata, a company from a former colony.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Ahhh. Don't get me started on Japanese cars. They are HORRIBLE! I am a car fanatic! Japan made so many innovations starting in the 70's. From about 2000 they haven't made a single car that I think is worth a damn. Even my favorite car company in the world, Honda. I would not buy a SINGLE car they make today. Yes I like sports cars, but that doesnt mean I hate everything else. PLENTY of cars that I would never ever buy or drive from the 70's, 80's and 90's were at least pleasing to look at, had great designed. OMFG! Every Japanese car on the road today is a station wagaon, a box, a van, a mini van, or some combination of those. The Preuis was cool for about 1 year. TEN YEARS AGO! It hasnt changed one bit. And its like 5% more eco than other cars on the road. ECO Japan. What a joke when it comes to cars. Because of the shaken, tax, and mentaltiy of Japan people buy new cars every 5 years. Do you have any idea what kind of impact that has on the environment. A hybrid car WILL decrease your carbon foot print.... if you drive it longer than a few years. BUY a new car when your old breaks down. Building hybrid cars is NOT a clean prossess. I am not saying they are bad cars, in the long run they are great. But because of the Japanese system, no one uses them for the long run. And if you say, what about 370z. Yeah. 3 liter engine. No thank you. Its not a pure bred sports car either. shares it chassi with 4 other nissan cars. What about the BRZ? Yeah 200 hp. Please! my 97 prelude can match the BRZ! The GTR is GREAT! at 10,000,000 yen no average dude is ever going to own one, just like the LFA. What happened to the Celica GT-4, the supra, Rx-7, s2000. etc. etc. etc. Japan has turened into a Soccer Mom Mini Van nation. sad. I come from the south and I hated it there. Part of the reason I ran away to Japan. To get away from that. I actully miss all the ghetto doinks (cars with big rims), red neck trucks, and army of SUVs. They were all better to look at than all the APPLIANCES on the road now.

-5 ( +6 / -11 )

Japanese who buy a new prius and only keep it for 3 or 5 years are not harming the environment like you say inakarRob, as those cars get exported and used in other countries so they are still better than a gas guzzling American Dodge Charger or Mustang.

The Prius will carry on being used for many years just not in Japan once the Japanese have replaced it with a new one, and the Japanese have made some fantastic cars since the 70s, look at Skyline, GT-R, AE86, Fairlady, FT 86, Honda NSX, CRX, Lexus LF A and do I need to continue?

4 ( +6 / -2 )

I came back to correct myself that, it is about the mullah. Only to find USNinJapan2's correction. So,:

@USNinJapan2, thank you. I did not know that about Nissan-Renault. I really don't know much. I'm A Monkey.

@InakaRob, good post. Good comment about the APPLIANCES.

Well, I thought that other than the Brits, they just don't want to spend the extra effort/money to place the steering for the Japanese market, and dealing with the different electrical output/input for the plug-ins. And that the Spark is made in "Korea", made them a no-show, but, it is about the mullah. It's all about the mullah. Sorry.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Anti-Environment and Greed run the American market...won't even consider cutting back on Co2...ummmm

3 ( +7 / -4 )

US car makers can only attend trucks motor shows.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

No American car makers again? Oh well no loss, they are awful compared to the European and Japanese manufacturers

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

KariHarukaNOV. 20, 2013 - 10:56PM JST No American car makers again? Oh well no loss, they are awful compared to the European and Japanese manufacturers

Ooh, don't get me started,..Japanese cars lack the 'cool' and sophistication of European cars for starters. American cars have power and grace. Japanese cars had their heyday. I would still but a Mazda though, they are really innovative recently.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

As Tyler mentioned above - to those who keep embarrassing themselves by claiming that there's "no American car makers again".....Tesla is there and is a US automaker. If you don't believe me, Google it yourself or read the article yourself in the link below to the Wall Street Journal.

The "Big Three" US automakers haven't attended the Tokyo Auto Show since 2009, so that's not really a big surprise to anyone, since these automakers focus on bigger / muscle cars that aren't popular in Japan. Sensationalized headlines tend to show the bias of the editor.

http://blogs.wsj.com/japanrealtime/2013/11/19/tokyo-motor-show-preview-the-cool-concept-cars/

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Weasel: you are totally right: US car makers are just unable to adapt to the world-wide demand where gas is charged at its fair value considering CO emission.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Don't get me started on Japanese cars. They are HORRIBLE...

You've never driven a Skyline, obviously. Or a Miata. I would consider any sort of city car mundane - the best I ever had was a Mercedes A-type diesel in Belgium - but if you are a car fanatic and you are overlooking the examples of Japanese sports cars you've missed the boat. Face it, only Mazda has been able to successfully produce a convertible sports car that the average person can afford. And the Skyline will trounce most cars on the road.

It's a pity that the US manufacturers won't take on the Japanese competition. Competition would improve their designs and make them much more able to compete in China and the rest of SE Asia. In the meantime the Americans are stuck with mediocre cars, for the most part. There are exceptions, but I would always look at the Japanese cars first.

In fact I once did an amortization curve of a bunch of cars I was considering. The only two that held their value enough to consider buying new (in the US) was the Honda and the Toyota. All the rest suffered the first year depreciation that makes buying a one year old leased car much more cost effective.

Oh, and the comment about European cars being so much more sophisticated in design - possibly. Or is that overdesigned? There's a reason why BMW and VW both offer free service for the first few years. Maintenance is an expensive proposition after that. Porsche? Bring your wallet. Rover or Jag - same thing, more often.

When it comes to the best combination of performance and practicality the Japanese have it pretty well nailed. Here's hoping that the new Mustang with the flat crank V8 can take on the Skyline. Now that will be interesting.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

No American car makers again? Oh well no loss, they are awful compared to the European and Japanese manufacturers

And yet, even European carmakers still can't get over measly 4.5% of the J-market.

If European carmakers are so good, why can't they get more of the market?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

@lostrune

Did you read the article? And know anything about the car industry?the reason their are no foreign cars has nothing to do with quality since the industry is very much balanced these days with literally nothing to seperate the origin of cars in regards to quality. And we The customers are the winners.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

However, foreign brands hold a miniscule share—just 4.5%—of a market that saw more than 5.0 million vehicles sold in Japan last year.

LOL....4.5%. Must be a quality issue....

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Ah, so it's not about quality then. Finally it's cleared up. Methinks that's just backed up my point.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

lostrune2

For starters they haven't invested in developing their dealership. Even if you combine the dealership of all three German automobile manufacturers (MB, BMW and VW) it still be much smaller then the Honda's dealership. When Japanese dealers only needs to cover 4 sq Km while the other needs to cover 50sqKm. It's game over. People will not drive 20~30Km just to see or test drive a car when the nearest Japanese dealer is only four blocks away.

The Foreign dealership following the same dealership strategy as the Japanese has no way of winning with the sheer difference in numbers.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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