The 45th Tokyo Motor Show is almost upon us and with it one of the most fascinating, original and eccentric of all vehicular events on the automotive calendar.
Every one of the country's 14 carmakers will be out in force with displays, discussions and concepts unified under this year's thematic banner of "Beyond the Motor" and will be attempting to answer the question "What's next for individual mobility in an increasingly digital age?"
In terms of new production and conceptual models expect an avalanche of new metal. Suzuki alone will be unveiling seven new concepts -- from a plug-in electric jeep called the e-Survivor to a luxury reimagining of the kei car (Japan's micro vehicle class that qualifies for tax breaks and other incentives) -- as a luxury micro minivan.
Toyota, Japan's biggest car maker and the world's second largest automotive firm in terms of sales is promising nine potentially show-stopping reveals. It's already detailed a new sportscar concept, the GR HV Sports concept, a new take on the minivan, the Tj Cruiser, which fuses traditional people-carrier practicality with the best that SUVs have to offer, plus a conceptual version of the next Toyota Crown sedan and the third generation of its Century Limousine.
Mitsubishi is using the show to relaunch the Evo badge. But while the original rally-inspired performance car was based on the otherwise sensible Lancer sedan over 10 generations, the new model is set to be a sports crossover that's propelled forward by batteries.
Honda, Yamaha and Mazda are focusing on driving fun and each is bringing a sportscar to this year's show. Yamaha's is the second iteration of the Gordon Murray co-developed sports coupé concept that stole the show in 2015, suggesting that the sleek two-seater is going to be a production reality very soon.
Mazda is using the show to explore sentiment towards a sporting four-door-coupé, while Honda will be looking for feedback on its Sports EV Concept, a performance car that promises external design cues that are both retro and revolutionary and an electric drivetrain.
But in terms of performance cars, the biggest potential unveiling will be of the new Nissan Leaf NISMO edition. Though just a concept, the electric car with racing performance and aerodynamics package has already been greenlit for production in 2019.
The 45th Tokyo Motorshow opens its doors to the press on October 25 and to the public from October 27.