By Robert Zebney, International Business Writer
For decades, the Tokyo Motor Show has been the premier auto show in Asia. This year was no exception as Tokyo has presented the world with a techno-centric show with a focus on the future of mobility. Automakers like Toyota, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Kia, and Honda all released their newest, most technologically advanced vehicles they have to offer as well as the concepts of the future.
Toyota has launched its last diesel car in Europe, according to Didier Leroy, the manufacturer’s executive vice-president. He says the company has made massive gains in its hybrid and plug-in hybrid models and there is no need for another diesel-engine car. In addition, Toyota released a concept for a capsule which will transport people of the future. Next, the third generation of the Toyota Mirai, which is a hydrogen cell vehicle, has been confirmed. BMW and Toyota will continue to work together to release the updated version before 2020. Finally, Toyota revived a completely new division to their company, called Century. Century provided limousines for senior politicians and the Imperial Family and will be turned into an ultra-luxurious company competing directly with Rolls-Royce and Bentley. Costs of the Century will be $130,000 with around 600 vehicles built per year.
Honda has released a concept for a potential successor to its highly successful Honda S2000 of the 2000’s. The concept is a fully electric sports car highlighting Honda’s plans for future electric vehicles. Despite its recent success with reloaded sporting models such as the Acura NSX and Honda Civic Type R, Honda has no current plans to relaunch the S2000. In addition to cars, Honda released an updated version of their flagship motorcycle, the Gold Wing. The bike comes equipped with a new seven-speed dual-clutch transmission with a power assisted “walking mode”. It is also the first motorcycle to have Apple CarPlay connectivity. On the family vehicle side, Honda executive Takahiro Hachigo announced plans that the popular CR-V will receive a hybrid powertrain in 2018 and come with three-rows for passengers, although it will only be available in Japan at release.
Subaru also released updated versions of their models and announced a plan for a successor to their sporty WRX. Shown at the Tokyo Motor Show the Subaru VIZIV is a concept for a five-passenger sport sedan. Notable changes between the VIZIV and the WRX is the long, low, and wide stance of the VIZIV. No powertrain stats have been released, but Subaru Technologies have confirmed that whatever vehicle the VZIV becomes it will have a horizontally opposed “boxer” engine, symmetrical all-wheel drive, and self-driving technologies based on the brand’s Eye Sight system.
One of the biggest surprises of the show was the emergence of Yamaha Motor Co. hinting at a concept for an automobile. Yamaha is best known currently for its motorcycles and power sports vehicles and hinted at a revival to the Sports Ride concept released in 2015. The concept of Sports Ride was an ultralight two-seat sports car based around the iStream manufacturing process. The process features extensive use of carbon fiber and is said to dramatically lower the cost of vehicle production. The iStream platform consists of a lightweight, high strength chassis that accommodates multiple body styles by bonding different composite panels to the frame. Autocar says Yamaha is developing the engine, which could be a highly tuned version of their turbocharged 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine.
The Tokyo Motor Show highlighted the future of the automotive industry and even the future of transportation as a whole.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, November 7th print edition.
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