Honda's NSX concept made another appearance at the Tokyo motor show
The Nissan BladeGlider is a carbonfibre three-seat sports car
Nissan's classic-looking IDx Nismo is a rear-drive coupé with sporting intent
The Ken Okuyama Design Kode9 has been inspired by Alfa's Disco Volante and the Jaguar D-type
Subaru GT300 competes in the Super GT series
The FC-Deck is a fuel-cell powered truck
The Toyota FCV is planned to launch in 2015
Subaru defines the Cross Sport Design concept as a combination of 'sport' and 'utility'
The Yamaha Motiv is built around the iStream production process, developed by Gordon Murray
It represents a new entry into car production for Yamaha
The Nissan IDX Freeflow is an obvious (and acknowledged) nod to the stocky Datsun 510
The handsome Jaguar F-type coupé range will include a 542bhp 'R' model
The F-type coupé will be priced £7285 less than the roadster
The Tokyo motor show is a biennial show
It was first held in 1954; reputedly only 17 passenger cars were displayed in the first year - the rest were commercial vehicles
A production version of the Bladeglider is expected to arrive in the future, and will sit below the 370Z in Nissan's range
The BMW Concept Active Tourer Outdoor concept previews the forthcoming BMW 1-series GT
Each press conference and new model reveal was guaranteed to attract large crowds
Honda brought along some of its historic models, including this RA271
This was Jaguar's F-type coupé, prior to its official reveal
Audi's stand featured its new A3 e-tron
This beautiful Datsun 14 Roadster featured on Nissan's display
The LF-NX concept is powered by Lexus'a first-ever turbocharged petrol engine
The BMW i3 and i8 drew much attention at the Tokyo motor show
Jaguar's stand featured new models like the XJR
Mercedes-Benz was prevalant at Tokyo
Toyota's i-Road will begin trials in Europe and Japan next year
The Mitsubishi AR concept is a next-gen MPV
This all-electric Mitsubishi MiEV Evolution II tackled the Pikes Peak hill climb
Suzuki's X-Lander is a convertible crossover
The Toyota FT-86 Open is on show with its fabric roof for the first time
Peugeot's recently launched RCZ R was one of the highlights of the show
The Suzuki Hustler concept is a new kind of 'minicar' for those with active lifestyles
The Daihatsu Kopen could indicate the return of the much-liked Kei car
Volkswagen's hyper-economical XL1 took pride of place on its stand
The Subaru Cross Sport Design indicates what the future 'urban SUV' market might be like
Suzuki's Crosshiker concept is a small alternative to the Nissan Juke
The new Alpina B4 packs 404bhp and is claimed to be capable of 0-62mph in 4.2sec
The Daihatsu Deca Deca is a fuel cell-powered truck
The Honda S660 previews a small production kei car, but a European launch is undecided
The Honda Uni-Cub personal mobility concept is one of the stranger products on display
Nismo-fettled GT-R is the ultimate road car iteration of the model
The Honda Jazz (badged Fit in Japan) will launch in the UK next year
The Lexus RC coupe is designed to appeal to a new generation of buyers
Just 350 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT Final Editions will be built
The new Mini took a bow in public, just days after its initial reveal in Oxford
The Mitsubishi EK Space is described as a "super height wagon" minicar
The Subaru Levorg concept has been named by combining the words Legacy, Revolution and Touring
Volvo's Concept Coupe makes another show appearance
The VW Twin Up diesel hybrid promises 257mpg...
...and it shares its drivetrain with the XL1
Like a bolt from the blue, Yamaha and Gordon Murray Design capped an already fascinating day at the Tokyo motor show by showing off their city car concept, the Yamaha Motiv, built around the long-vaunted principles of the revolutionary iStream production process pioneered by ex-F1 designer Murray in the UK.
It was a bombshell both because the partnership hadn’t been talked up pre-show, and because of the undeniable rightness of the deal. Yamaha executives openly admitted they would never have considered an entry to the city car market unless it was innovative and engineering led, while Murray discussed the pervading engineering approach that was at the core of everyone he met at Yamaha.
Production is still to be confirmed, but there was a comfortable rapport between the two sides that boded well for this most innovative of projects. Previously, people had mooted Apple and Google as potential Murray partners, but the fit here seemed just right, thank you.
Should the project proceed as planned, it is likely that this year’s Tokyo motor show will become etched in the tomes of history for today’s big reveal. Certainly it was fascinating to watch the number of people sidle up to the stand wearing name badges from rival manufacturers long after the covers had come off the car. BMW, Nissan, Porsche and more were all represented among the intrigued onlookers, eager to know more whilst being eager not to show too much interest, presumably lest they appear in any way worried.
It’s a credit to the Tokyo motor show that the Murray does not stand head and shoulders above the rest of the cars displayed. So often known for serving up a delightful but ultimately teasing platter of cute kei cars and wacky concepts, this year’s Tokyo show had a harder edge, underpinned by key global reveals and a more focused production edge to even the most radical concepts.
So it was that the distinctly un-Japanese Jaguar F-type Coupe, Mini hatchback, Porsche Macan and Nissan GT-R Nismo provided the biggest fireworks, and the homemakers all pitched in with concepts as far-reaching as Mitsubishi’s trio of concepts, all pointing at a more focused future making crossovers and MPVs, through to Nissan’s quirky-minded but ultimately production-minded Bladeglider and IDX concepts.
Examples of cars that sit at both ends of that scale are too many to list, but details can be found throughout our Tokyo motor show news section.
Beyond the metal there were some star turns, too, and most notably it was the home giants of Toyota and Honda that stood out. Press conferences can be overblown corporate affairs, but the Toyota one set a trend both for its warmth and personality. Stage managed though it no doubt was, the tale of company president Akio Toyoda racing at the Nurburgring, standing side by side with engineers of all levels of experience as they tried to improve the car, could only stir the soul.
Then, in a very different way, later in the day Honda president Takanobu Ito took to the stage with a casual confidence that may have always been there, but was never more discernable as he stood surrounded by car’s that have been inspired under his leadership, plus a Formula 1 racer whose history he hopes his engineers can emulate. Ito isn’t prone to swagger, but there can be few better adverts for the potential being reawakened at Honda than the upcoming NSX and S660.
This year’s Tokyo motor show had strength and depth; far more than many imagined in the build-up to the show, and all delivered with an underlying positivity that suggested that car makers are in the mood for launching cars that are about driving pleasure and occasional indulgence rather than only the mantra of affordability and economy that until recently had pervaded many a launch.
Unless, of course, we dwell once again on the Yamaha Motiv, a car that has the lightweight, stiff-bodied, small-engined potential to give city drivers the best of both worlds – driving fun and economy. Let’s hope the partnership thrives.
Autocar is reporting live from the Tokyo motor show. Click the image above to view our exclusive picture gallery.