TOKYO -- The incredibly shrinking Tokyo Motor Show just got even smaller.
Hyundai Motor Co., the last major foreign automaker which was scheduled to participate in next month's show, has decided to pull out with just weeks to go, organizers say.
“Hyundai called last week and orally confirmed their intent to cancel,” said Toyokazu Ishida, who administers the international exhibition for the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association. The call came Friday, Sept. 25. “It's unbelievable,” Ishida said.
The South Korean carmaker's exit leaves just two minor foreign manufacturers at the Oct. 24-Nov. 4 event: German boutique manufacturer Alpina Burkard Bovensiepen and British sports-car maker Lotus. The Detroit 3 were among the first to drop out earlier this year.
The Tokyo show, held every two years, was once the premier auto event in Asia. But it is being hit hard as international players sit out to save cash amid the global market slump.
It can cost millions to exhibit, and even some Japanese manufacturers had proposed that this year's event be canceled because of the slumping economy.
Hyundai officials in Seoul could not immediate confirm or comment on their plans for the show. JAMA is still awaiting written confirmation of the decision.
JAMA officials said they did not know why the company was pulling out. Japan's Mainichi newspaper said it was a cost-cutting measure.
Dropping out now will minimize Hyundai's losses. Hyundai already has paid ¥10.9 million ($122,000) in nonrefundable fees for a 4,300-square-foot exhibit, according to JAMA. Ishida said it's unclear what will be done with the empty floor space.