08 Dec 2011 | Text and photo by Julian Kho. Live from Tokyo.
Apparently, the massive natural disaster that hit Japan not long ago was not a good enough reason to postpone the 42nd Tokyo Motor Show.
Carmall.com - Japan was hit by a massive natural disaster not too long ago, but its people seemed to have gotten back on their feet again and even enjoying life, particularly in the automotive field. This country that is renowned to be obsessively discipline have courageously endure the recent massive earthquake. Hence, get yourself ready for colourful banners, roadside-parked bycycle lines, and funky-fitted adolescents, or "ah beng" as they are called in Singapore. This nuance is a world apart from Singapore, where its people - familiarly known as "Kiasu" and "Kiasee"- are notorious for being intolerant, ignorant towards others, and impatient.
Although some had doubted the continuity of the 42nd Tokyo Motor Show, facts say otherwise. Despite some worries about a recurring of the unfortunate 2009 experience, where foreign medias were not very enthusiastic about the event, and of course in the circumstances following last May's earthquake and tsunami, the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show has nevertheless been opened. In fact, that's not all. The public seemed highly enthusiastic about this one of the world's biggest automotive events. This was evident at the Tokyo Big Sight - Tokyo International Exhibition Centre, where people from all walks of life were there, whether reporters, easily recognizable by their cameras and their ever-present laptops, or any other members of the general public. There's even a middle-aged woman walking around with a cane in the grand event. However, she seemed detached even when almost everyone was busy listening to the opening speech by Akio Toyota, President of Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) at the west hall.
However, it's rather unfortunate that Ferrari, Lamborghini, and several other big names in the automotive world didn't participate in this event. Nonetheless, with over 400 vehicles from 174 automotive brands being displayed, the event still has its zest. The event was dominated by some of the biggest names in the automotive world from Germany such as BMW, Volkswagen and Audi. BMW presented the MS, Audi with their A1 Sportback, and Volkswagen attempted to compete with their hybrid, the Bulli and Cross.
Local household names were also fairly successful in impressing the crowd at the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show, where most of the cars featured carries the green concept. Honda with their 2-seater rear-wheel-drive convertible, the EV-STER, while their Fit-EV - to be marketed in Japan in 2012 - also succeeded in captivating the visitors. Suzuki also had the same success in dazzling the visitors, with their hybrid, the Swift EV Hybrid. This electric car from the automaker from the host of the 2011 TMS can travel 30km on power from its battery. And when the battery runs out, the car will rely on its generator.
Meanwhile, Toyota gave a surprise with their GT86 sports car, which stole the crowd when it was briefly shown under sparkling lights moments after Akio Toyota ended his speech. This car is the twin brother of the BRZ, a Subaru, another big name in the automotive world, particularly in the rally world. The Toyota GT 86 was the only car to feature the D-4S engine in this 42nd TMS. This sports car from Toyota relies on a 2,400cc capacity engine and a rear-wheel drive (RWD) system.
Another Toyota car on display was a hybrid, the highly environmentally friendly Prius Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle (HPV), which features a new lithium-ion battery that can be recharged from an ordinary house electrical socket. This new Toyota Prius can function as an eletric car for short-distance travels and a hybrid for longer distances. According to TMC, the fuel has been given improvements to its performance, enabling the car to travel 700km.
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