Tokyo Motor Show reinvigorated - but Detroit won't be there

None of the major US automakers will attend this year's Tokyo Motor Show in December, organizers confirmed this week.

The Tokyo Motor Show was once one of the most prestigious shows in the world, and organizers promised that this year's show will demonstrate the "resilience of Japanese manufacturing" after the country's devastating earthquake - but it's hard to avoid the conclusion that the show is being gradually eclipsed by other rivals in the region.

This year's show will feature 15 Japanese brands and 22 brands from overseas, organizers said April 26, a significant boost in the number of international brands from the last event, which only featured nine.

Major German automakers such as Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen will be there, as will French stalwarts Peugeot, Citroen and Renault, as well as Saab, Range Rover and Jaguar.

Nonetheless, the continued absence of all three big Detroit names - General Motors, Ford and Chrysler - is telling, especially as all were present in a big way at the recent Auto Shanghai show in China.

Also noticeable is the lack of any prominent Chinese brands such as BYD, which was present at both the Geneva and Detroit auto shows this year.

With Japan still a relatively small market for international names, the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association is  putting on a brave face, focusing on the new innovations and the (admittedly impressive) number of names returning to the show.

In a statement, the organizer promised that the show will be the world's leading "technology-driven" motor show, and announced the addition of the "Smart Mobility City 2011" which will illustrate next-generation vehicles and how they will interact with humans.

It will also occupy a new site, with 60 percent more exhibition space - a total of 34,919 square meters.

The 42nd Tokyo Motor Show 2011 runs December 2-11 in Tokyo, Japan.

http://www.tokyo-motorshow.com/en/

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