TOKYO -- I wouldnt call this years Tokyo motor show a snoozer, exactly, though its one of those shows where the people you run into during press days are way more interesting than most of the new hardware on the stands.
Yes, of course, there are a few vehicles here that surprise and delight.
But after you filter out the green noise about hybrids, fuel cells, etc., then take into account the pallor caused by deteriorating new-car sales in Japan and deal with the concern about wildfires in southern California, where most of the Japanese automakers have their U.S. headquarters, the Tokyo show has been a lot like a middle school dance.
Thats because there are many companies hoping to hook up in one way or another, even if theyre not quite sure how to find the right partner.
Carlos Ghosn says Renault and Nissan are still open to the idea of a ménage à trois if they can find a consenting participant in North America.
Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche admits to flirting with BMW as the two companies try to determine whether there are (more) areas where they can cooperate to mutual advantage.
Honda CEO Takeo Fukui says Honda has had an eye out for relationships with high-tech companies, especially in Silicon Valley.
Chrysler could be the most ambitious suitor as it tries to firm up partnerships in China, Russia and probably India.
Meanwhile, after a favorable ruling from the European Union, Porsche seems ready to do more than just tango with Volkswagen.
Not everybody is in the mood to dance yet; some companies still seem a little bashful. But the way things are playing out in the industry, its going to be tougher and tougher to be a wallflower.