Global slump hits Tokyo Motor Show


The shock waves from the global economic crisis have reached this year’s Tokyo Motor Show.

The Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association said Tuesday that only two foreign automakers will participate in the 41st version of the exhibition, which starts Oct. 23, down from 26 at the previous show in 2007.

While major Japanese automakers, including Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co., will attend, foreign firms such as General Motors Corp., Chrysler LLC, Ford Motor Co. and Daimler AG will not participate, the association said.

The only foreign companies showing off their cars will be Lotus of Britain and Alpina of Germany. South Korea’s Hyundai officially notified JAMA on Tuesday that it will not attend.

In all, 108 auto and auto parts companies will take part, the fewest since the show was first held in 1954.

“The (harsh) economic environment starting last year affected the makers’ (decision) whether to attend the event this time,” Satoshi Aoki, chairman of the association, told a news conference.

In its heyday in 1995, the show attracted a record 361 companies. At the previous version in 2007, 241 companies took part. To add insult to injury, the Tokyo show is being eclipsed by one in China.

Aoki said some foreign automakers decided to participate in the Shanghai motor show, which took place from April 22 to April 28, because the Chinese auto market is growing rapidly and people there have strong interest in automobiles — like the Japanese market decades ago.

This year’s Shanghai show attracted 77 automakers, while only 10 are expected to participate in Tokyo’s event.