TOKYO — Well, that was disappointing.
It used to be that the Tokyo motor show carried a mystical aura replete with the possibility of a bizarre, Blade Runner future. The floor was crowded with vehicles that looked like they could fly, swim or crawl their way to your next destination. The dainty girls posing with the vehicles wore fantastic outfits not seen this side of a Paris runway during fashion week.
Instead, this year's show was clotted with cars that looked like they would rather cash your paycheck than drive you to the ATM. Never have so many boxy or gelatinous vehicles seemed so anonymous and unconnected to the brand that designed them. And the production-tease cars were underwhelming.
The results were tepid and derivative from top to bottom.
For a company supposedly celebrating its 75th year in business, Toyota was a grumpy birthday boy. Its new concepts were uniformly staid, with the exception of the baby Scionesque Hi-CT. Disappointingly, the anticipated announcement of a production version of the Lexus LF-A supercar never materialized.
Nissan showed an Intima luxury sedan that was a warmed-over Maybach with a Toyota Avalon grille tacked on it. Similarly, Mitsubishi's tease at the Galant replacement, the Concept ZT, stole styling from the aged Volvo S60, with a Mercury waterfall grille slapped on the front. Those designs, if they reach production, would conquest about seven potential Camry and Accord buyers.