Foreign carmakers attending Tokyo Motor Show double

by Hiroko Nakata

Staff Writer

The number of foreign automakers that will attend next month’s Tokyo Motor Show will rise back to 20 from only nine in the previous show in 2009, when the global economic slump was in full swing, the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association said Friday.

To lure more visitors, the biennial show running from Dec. 2 through 11 will also move to Tokyo for the first time in 24 years, and will remain open until 8 p.m. each day, two hours later than in the past. The show will be held at Big Sight in Koto Ward, instead of Makuhari Messe in Chiba Prefecture.

In recent years, the Tokyo show has been suffering from fierce competition with similar events in emerging markets, including China and India. In 2009, it was hit hard by the global financial crisis, and many overseas automakers stayed away. In 2007, 32 foreign makers took part.

This year, the association will stress the strength of Japanese makers’ technology with the theme “Mobility can change the world.”

“Attention for motor shows in Beijing, Shanghai and New Delhi is growing rapidly,” said Toshiyuki Shiga, chairman of JAMA and chief operating officer of Nissan Motor Co. “We want to appeal to the rest of the world with the technology of our home country.”

Shiga said the show is shooting for 800,000 visitors during its 10-day run, up from 600,000 in 2009. In 2007 the show brought in 1.4 million.

Shiga stressed the prowess of Japanese carmakers, particularly in the environmental field: “Their technology has in no way declined.”