TOKYO -- And Ford makes it three. For a second time, the Detroit 3 automakers have bailed on the Tokyo Motor Show.
The Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, the show's organizer, released the 2011 roster of participants on Tuesday, and U.S. brands being the obvious omission.
General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC had announced in February they would sit out, while Ford Motor Co. had been wavering. The application deadline passed with all three off the list, and JAMA officials said they weren’t planning to accommodate late-comers.
Ford offices in Japan didn’t return calls seeking comment.
All three U.S. automakers also sat out the last Tokyo show in 2009.
“We’ll do our best to make this year an appealing show,” said JAMA Chairman Toshiyuki Shiga, who is also COO of Nissan Motor Co. “I hope they find it attractive and want to return.”
Despite Detroit’s waning interest in Tokyo, this year’s show can still boast a much improved showing from 2009, which global brands shunned amid the global financial crisis.
Aside from the Japanese makers, attendees will include 14 overseas auto companies representing 17 brands. In 2009, only three foreign brands bothered to show the flag.
Notable returnees to the December show include: Mercedes, Volkswagen, BMW, Audi, Citroen, Peugeot, Mini, Smart, Porsche, Land Rover and Jaguar.
The number of exhibitors has increased by a third, compared with the 2009 show, to 171 companies. Booth space has increased 60 percent, to 377,000 square feet.
JAMA is still reeling from dropouts at the 2009 event. While most Europeans are returning, the show is a tough sell for U.S. brands, which wring only marginal sales from Japan.
The Tokyo show, held every other year, was once the premier show in Asia. But in recent years it has become overshadowed by the Beijing and Shanghai shows.
The 2009 show was nearly scrubbed after a rash of cancellations by international carmakers because of the global financial crisis and Japan’s waning market influence.
After polling foreign automakers about what changes would bring them back, JAMA moved the 2011 event to a new venue and month and made it three days shorter.
After 20 years of holding the show outside Tokyo at the sprawling Makuhari Messe in Chiba, JAMA will move it to Tokyo Big Sight, a smaller convention hall in Tokyo's waterfront district.
The show is scheduled for Dec. 2-11, with press days scheduled for Nov. 30 and Dec. 1. Traditionally it has been in October.
This year's theme of "Smart Mobility City 2010" will be underlined by a central exhibit of next-generation vehicles and such technologies as smart grids, telematics and battery recharging systems. Test drives of the futuristic vehicles also will be offered.