Could this finally be the year when Japan’s autumn motor show fights back and overshadows its calendar neighbour in the United States?
In recent years, the biennial show in Tokyo has been alarmingly close to the West Coast extravaganza in Los Angeles - and the American event has generally taken the lion’s share of the big launches.
That looks unlikely to happen this year, though. The two shows have been pulled further apart in the calendar, admittedly - Tokyo is now well before the end of October while LA has gone further into November to create a distinct gap. And yet the launch line-up that we’re going to see at the Big Sight exhibition centre in a few weeks’ time is a fair bit more appealing than the sparse offering that appears likely in downtown LA.
The key is that Japan’s domestic manufacturers are really pulling out the stops in 2015, whereas in recent years they’ve done far too good a job of hiding their light under a bushel - or just viewing Tokyo as a shop window for local oddities instead of stuff the rest of the world could be interested in.
Just look at the list of vehicles that have already been confirmed for Tokyo. Toyota? The new Prius will be joined by a range of concepts, including an intriguing small sports car called S-FR. Mazda? Only a show car that previews the next generation of rotary-engined sports car. Honda? A new fuel-cell vehicle. Subaru? A concept showing the next Impreza. Mitsubishi? A neat-looking small SUV that’s said to preview an all-electric version of the ASX.