The Tokyo motor show, once one of the most powerful and fabulous auto extravaganzas on earth, seems to be on the ropes.

Like Geneva, Frankfurt and Detroit, Tokyo has long been on the A-list show circuit but this year persistent, nagging rumours have dogged the show.

Would it still go ahead in October as planned, given the ongoing world economic meltdown and big local competition from Shanghai? And even if Tokyo did get the green light, who would show up?

We had confirmation from JAMA, the organisers, a while back that yes, the 41st Tokyo show was still on but given the current circumstances, the guest list might perhaps be shorter than usual.

Today came the bombshell news from Germany that Mercedes-Benz, BMW and the Volkswagen Group have collectively decided to give the show miss: a stunning about-face, because the German premium brands dominate Japan’s lucrative import market and hell would freeze over before they pulled out of Tokyo, or so you would think.

The Tokyo show is clearly a moving target right now. As of yesterday, the Germans were all in and it was the likes of Peugeot Citroen and Fiat that were pulling out.

A source told me that Maserati, Lotus, Porsche, Ferrari and Hyundai are still down for stands at the show, which opens its doors on 23 October and will run for 13 days this year instead of the 17 days originally planned. But now even that could change.Technorati Tags: , , ,