Just as Japanese brands such as Nissan pulled out of the Frankfurt and forthcoming L.A. Auto Show in order to save their concept car and production debuts for their home event in Tokyo, so non-Japanese automakers elected to bypass the Japanese expo. This year Lotus was the only foreign automaker present, and the number of global debuts were halved.
This didn’t stop the domestic manufacturers from putting on their usual display of weird and wonderful concepts. Honda kicked off its press conference by sending its Asimo robot strolling onto the stage, shortly thereafter stylish hostesses entertained the crowd by teetering precariously around the stand on the company’s futuristic new U3-X electric ‘monocycle.’ Equipped with an extra wheel and two-seat, tandem-style cockpit design, the Nissan Land Glider is set to spawn a production version in future according to CEO Carlos Ghosn.
Elsewhere, we saw the rebirth of the affordable Japanese compact coupe in the shape of Toyota’s rear-drive FT-86 concept and the Honda CR-Z hybrid electric sports car. Japan’s ongoing quest to sex up the people carrier also gathered pace courtesy of the scissor-doored Honda Skydeck — a car rivalled for visual drama only by the gullwing-doored Subaru Hybrid Tourer concept. Meanwhile, Daihatsu’s DecaDeca and Toyota’s FT-EV II proved that small doesn’t necessarily mean boring, and Lexus used the show to unveil its long-awaited LF-A V10 supercar — weighing in at 552 horsepower and an eye-watering $542,000.