TOKYO -- The Tokyo Motor Show unleashes the creativity of the Japanese auto industry, and this year's event will be no exception.
The show promises 45 world premieres: 34 from Japanese carmakers and 11 from non-Japanese.
Here are some of the concept cars and production vehicles that will premiere in Tokyo.
The show opens to the press on Oct. 19 and to the public on Oct. 22.
Chrysler Akino -- The five-seat subcompact concept car has a single door on the driver's side and two doors on the passenger side that open in opposite directions. They open onto a sofalike rear seat and a swiveling front-passenger seat. Throw rugs, sconce lighting and bamboo flooring give the Akino a living roomlike interior.
Color is used to separate the driver and cockpit "working area" from the living room area. The rear glass is coated with texture to give passengers a sense of privacy and comfort.
The Akino is named for Akino Tsuchiya, a Japanese-born interior and exterior designer. She works out of the Chrysler group's Pacifica Design Studios in Carlsbad, Calif.
Ford Equator -- This SUV concept hints at the sportier direction Ford favors for the Escape SUV, known in China as the Maverick. It also sends a message that Ford is committed to selling the Escape in Asia, where larger SUVs aren't as popular as in North America. A 3.0-liter V-6 Duratec engine powers the Equator. It is mated to computer-controlled "intelligent" 4-wheel drive.
FCX -- In its latest fuel cell vehicle, Honda halved the size of the fuel cell stack and doubled the hydrogen stored in on-board tanks, which gives the FCX concept a range of 350 miles. That is up 30 percent from the current model.
W.O.W -- Honda is going to the dogs - at least for one vehicle. The W.O.W., which stands for "Wonderful Openhearted Wagon," offers a crate in the glove box for a dog. A bigger crate pops out of the second of three seat rows. The floor is paneled instead of carpeted for easy cleaning. Honda says about 20 percent of Japanese households own a dog.
Honda Motor Co. has several concepts planned for the Toyko Motor Show. Here are previews:
Sports 4 -- The concept is designed for performance and comfort. The 2.0-liter sedan comes with SH-AWD, short for Super Handling All Wheel Drive, which distributes optimum torque between the front and rear wheels and between the left and right rear wheels. The concept also offers four independent leather seats.
Senku -- This hybrid concept shows one possible direction for the evolution of the rotary engine-powered RX-8.
Designed as a sports car for mature drivers, it features oversized "flying wing" doors that slide to the rear. The plastic body panels are painted to pass for metal. Solar cells are embedded in the rear half of the roof.
The concept was conceived to be powered by a hybrid system based on a direct-injection rotary engine. The transmission is a twin-clutch seven-speed.
Inside, the 2-seater can convert into a 2+2 layout. A spokeless steering wheel encircles analog gauges on top and a touch screen below. The screen includes the sound system and other controls, or can turn into a keyboard when the car is parked. Three screens lined up across the instrument panel show exterior views from five cameras. A Night Drive Aid function is incorporated into the front view. A Lane Drive Aid system helps the driver avoid wandering into the next lane.
In a station wagonlike arrangement, two powered rear gates open to the cargo space. The upper gate slides forward into the roof. The window and lower gate slide down.
The name means "pioneer" in Japanese.
MPV -- Mazda will unveil the latest generation of its MPV minivan, which goes on sale in Japan soon. It was deemed too small for North America and will not be sold here.
Aiming to bring "zoom-zoom" to a minivan, Mazda is fitting the Japan-market MPV with a direct-injection 2.3-liter turbocharged gasoline engine. It is the same engine found in the Mazdaspeed6.
Inside, it features what Mazda calls "Super Relax Seats" in the second row. These include adjustable leg rests that tilt out like those on airline business-class seats, and adjustable tilting backs, seat cushions, headrests and armrests.
Premacy Hydrogen RE Hybrid -- Mazda finally puts the rotary engine into a minivan.
This is a technology showcase, with the rotary fueled by either gasoline or hydrogen and hooked to an electric motor in a hybrid powertrain. The rotary engine and hybrid unit are in front of the front axle. The gasoline tank and a high-voltage nickel hydride battery are under the second row of seats. A high-pressure hydrogen tank fits behind that second row of seats. Although that rules out a third row of seats, it still leaves the Premacy with more storage space than the Honda Insight hybrid.
Mazda says it is aiming for a cruising range of 124 miles on hydrogen fuel.
Importantly, this car's hybrid system is being designed by Mazda, with components and suppliers separate from the ones Toyota used for the hybrid Mazda Tribute/Ford Escape. That means Mazda is not tied to the Toyota system and its suppliers.
RX-8 Hydrogen RE -- This is the latest in a series of hydrogen-fueled, rotary engine-powered RX-8s from Mazda. The hydrogen system is essentially the same as that shown at the 2004 Tokyo show. But this year's car is special for two reasons: It can run on either gasoline or hydrogen. The two hydrogen tanks together provide a cruising range of 62 miles. If those run empty, the car automatically switches to gasoline and can go for another 341 miles.
Mazda vows to put it on the market through leases to selected customers in 2006. A handful of fuel cell cars now are being leased worldwide, usually at a lease price of 1 million yen, or $8,780 at current exchange rates, a month. Mazda pledges a price below that.
Tribute Hybrid -- This is a sister car to the Ford Escape Hybrid. Mazda is expected to provide details at the show as to when it goes on sale and in what quantity.
Mitsubishi Concept-X -- This is a styling exercise for a possible future Lancer Evolution of rally and video-game fame. The exterior features the air scoops and sharklike oversized grille unveiled at the Frankfurt show on the Concept Sportback. Mitsubishi says the look comes from fighter jets.
The car uses aluminum for the hood, trunk lid, fenders, roof and front and rear door panels. This reduces weight and lowers the center of gravity.
The car is powered by an intercooler turbocharged aluminum cylinder-block 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. Paddle shifters on the steering column control a clutchless six-speed transmission.
Rear passengers can check out driving-related information on video displays on the backs of the front seats. That includes updates on the Super All Wheel Control, Mitsubishi's vehicle dynamics control technology that combines four-wheel drive, traction control, active yaw control, active brake control, active steering and roll-control technologies.
Concept D:5 -- This is a concept for the next-generation Delica, a Japan-market tall, narrow minivan equipped with 4wd that has been popular with the outdoor set. The design goal was "supermobility," that is, go anywhere and feel safe.
The van's defining feature is what Mitsubishi calls its "exposed rib-bone frame." Like rib bones, four structural frames encircle the car from top to bottom at each of the pillars. This increases body strength and stiffness, and visually accents the van's solidity. In contrast, the glass roof and the use of both metallic and natural materials, such as leather for seats and the instrument panel, aim to create a sense of protective safety plus interior comfort.
The D:5 is powered by a 2.4-liter engine mated to a continuously variable transmission, which in Sport Mode operates like an auto-manual six-speed. It uses the same electronically controlled 4wd system as the Outlander. It offers three modes: two-wheel drive for fuel economy, 4wd Auto for various surfaces, and 4wd Lock for harsh terrain.
Safety features include 10 approach sensors surrounding the D:5 and adaptive cruise control, using millimeter-wave radar. It also has lane-trace assist, in which an on-board camera tracks the lane lines. The system adjusts the power steering when it senses that the car is starting to depart from its lane.
i -- This production minicar goes on sale in Japan in January. Mitsubishi showed a concept version at the 2003 Tokyo show.
By moving the new turbocharged 660cc, 3-cylinder engine behind the rear seat, the i greatly expands its interior space within the external dimensions allowed for minicars. Akinori Nakanishi, corporate general manager of Mitsubishi's design center, describes the i as "an egg on four tires at the corners."
Outlander -- The Outlander is a crucial car for struggling Mitsubishi Motors Corp.
The SUV goes on sale in Japan on Monday, Oct. 17, and in the United States next year. It also will be the basis of two new SUVs that Mitsubishi will supply to Citroen and Peugeot for sale in Europe in 2007.
This Outlander moves to the Lancer platform. Mitsubishi expects that platform to be used on about 3 million Mitsubishi and Chrysler models. Most of the cars using that platform will be sold in North America.
It uses the 160-hp, 2.4-liter 4-cylinder "world engine" developed and manufactured jointly with DaimlerChrysler AG and Hyundai Motor Co. It shares the same powertrain shown in the Concept D:5. The Citroen and Peugeot versions will use a diesel powertrain. The Outlander sold in Europe will offer a diesel supplied by Volkswagen AG.
It comes in five- and seven-seat versions. Inside, it has an exclusive entertainment system developed jointly with American car-audio supplier Rockford Fosgate.
Pivo -- The Pivo concept is an electric car full of advanced technology.
First, the three-seat urban commuter doesn't go in reverse. Rather, the driver simply pivots the entire cabin. The driver sits in front while two passengers sit side-by-side in the rear.
"See-through" pillars aid visibility. Cameras mounted on the outside of each A-pillar feed an image of the surroundings to screens mounted on the inside of the pillar. The net effect is pillars that become virtual windows.
Finally, infrared device mounted on the instrument panel allows the driver to operate the navigation and audio systems by pointing fingers to choose from any of four items on a menu. If you want item No. 3, for example, hold up three fingers.
Subaru B5-TPH -- The hybrid concept combines a sporty car and an SUV. Powered by a 2.0-liter gasoline-turbo boxer engine and an electric motor, the three-door hatchback burns 30 percent less fuel than a comparable Legacy. The concept offers 7.9-inch ground clearance to run on rough roads.
For the hybrid powertrain, NEC Corp., a major Japanese electronics maker, and Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., maker of Subarus, developed a manganese lithium ion battery that can last 15 years or 150,000 miles. That's compared to a warranty of eight years or 100,000 miles for a nickel-metal hydride battery used in the Toyota Prius.
P.X -- The three-row, six-seat minivan features a bold front nose. The concept is aimed at creating "a private space for men" by offering luxury white leather seats with large arm and footrests.
Suzuki has no plans to put the concept in production, although it offers only one minivan built in Indonesia for the sale in Southeast Asia and other regions.
Ionis -- The four-seat concept employs General Motors' fuel cell technology. It has four hydrogen tanks under the floor and by-wire steering and brakes.
Mom's Personal Wagon -- This four-seat concept specifies a target customer: Mothers about 30 years old. Roundish headlights, like the BMW Mini's, give the concept a cute look to appeal to such customers.
LC -- A two-seat concept with a 660cc engine, the LC has a cozy cabin for good friends or a couple. The two seats are arranged more closely than usual for a minicar. The name stands for "Life Creator."
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