MAKUHARI, Chiba Pref. — The 37th Tokyo Motor Show opened to the media Wednesday at the Makuhari Messe convention center, showcasing futuristic, environmentally friendly and concept vehicles, motorcycles and the latest technology.

The Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association said 263 companies — including 38 carmakers, 12 motorcycle makers and 200 auto parts companies — from 14 countries are participating, featuring about 400 cars and 300 motorcycles.

With demand for environmentally friendly vehicles rising, car manufacturers are trying to lure consumers with their latest clean vehicle prototypes, including hydrogen-powered and gasoline-electric hybrid cars.

Nissan Motor Co. is displaying the Effis fuel-cell compact, which offers high driving performances. Fuel-cell vehicles run on hydrogen and emit only water vapor.

Suzuki Motor Corp. is showing off two fuel-cell models that boast technology by U.S. auto giant General Motors Corp.

GM is meanwhile displaying its Hy-wire hydrogen vehicle, whose “drive by wire” system, including joystick, electronically controls steering and braking.

Gasoline-electric hybrid models by Toyota Motor Corp. and Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., which makes Subaru vehicles, are also on display.

Visitors can test-ride 12 environmentally friendly vehicles, including fuel-cell cars, at a bay-side park near the convention center.

While concept models offer important clues to future industry directions, automakers are also debuting cars that will hit the market in the near future.

Honda Motor Co. is displaying its hybrid system-equipped ASM luxury minivan, which will probably go on sale in Japan next spring.

Mitsubishi Motors Corp.’s i compact is expected to become a base model for its new minicar that debuts in Japan in 2005.

Nissan President Carlos Ghosn said his company will unveil the new Skyline GTR sports car at the motor show here in 2007. Production of the Skyline was discontinued a few years ago.

This year, the Carrozzeria corner at the show features 31 vehicles displayed by 13 original manufacturers and car modification firms, including the Gemballa from Germany and the TVR from Britain.

The organizer hopes to draw 1.4 million visitors to the Tokyo Motor Show, which is open to the public from Saturday until Nov. 5.

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