Maybe you read that Mercedes-Benz unveiled a Vision Tokyo concept vehicle.
I guess you had to be there.
When I visited the day after the official unveiling -- my favored time for viewing vehicles without the crush of hardworking photographers -- there sure wasn’t much to see. It looks a bit like a Ford Flex-sized boxy van, but I have no idea what it’s supposed to be. There was no signage, no explanation of what it represented. Maybe Mercedes execs talked about it during the press conference, but afterward they might as well have had someone standing in front of the car waving crowds along: “Nothing to see here, folks, keep moving.”
The parts suppliers used to be isolated in adjacent buildings. I’m sure there must have been some concern about moving them into the same halls as the automakers. Do visitors really want to walk past displays of tires and transmissions to get to the crossovers and sedans?
At this show, I think the layout works. With the automakers placing so much emphasis on alternative powertrains, it’s very enlightening to see suppliers’ displays showing the innards of those powertrains.
At the Aisin Group’s stand, for example, the head of braking-systems maker Advics walked me through a display showing the new regenerative-braking parts going into the redesigned Prius showcased by Toyota just across the hallway.
I’ve never torn down an engine. But it’s fun to see how things work.
News Editor James B. Treece reported from Tokyo as Automotive News’ Asia News Editor from 1995 to 2007.