The three companies' luxury divisions continue to try to answer an unrelenting product onslaught from their German competitors. All three brands -- Lexus, Infiniti and Acura -- will add new crossovers to their portfolios, and both Infiniti and Lexus are moving to compete more aggressively in the entry-level luxury race.
Pickups gain renewed interest from the three brands. Honda's midsize Ridgeline is due soon, as is Nissan's Frontier. Both will chase the long-standing segment leader among Japanese brands, the Toyota Tacoma, which will be redesigned and due for sale this fall. In full-size trucks, Toyota and Nissan are looking at diesel engines, and Toyota could even introduce a plug-in hybrid, in search of the big profits that segment promises.
Successors to highly touted sports car names such as the NSX, GT-R, Z and even the Supra all return in coming years, though the names themselves may change. Some, such as the NSX and the Toyota sports car, even add electrification for extra power.
Yet the Japan 3 also will devote plenty of attention to the backbone of their lineups -- fuel-efficient cars and crossovers that sell by the hundreds of thousands annually and top the sales charts globally. Watch for an increased push into turbocharging, modular platforms, direct injection and efficient transmissions to help boost fuel economy and sales.