Tokyo Motor Show 2019: venue disrupted by Olympic preparations 

Telegraph Automobile 3 weeks ago

Car makers were ill served by the Japanese Motor Manufacturer’s Association, the organisers of the Tokyo Motor show, although some were more ill served than others.

With the Big Site exhibition halls in the Ariake district of Tokyo being readied for next year’s Olympic Games, the motor show was forced to split itself across four halls over a mile apart. It was a bit like the Frankfurt Show in September, where organisers refused to reduce the foot print of their much-diminished show, which just meant you walked more to see less.

So who won and who lost out in this process? Certainly journalists' shoe leather fell victim, as you either paid a fiver to get a return rail trip between the halls, or took Hobson’s Choice of a half an hour queue for a free bus ride or a half an hour yomp between the halls.

Toyota’s position here is moot. As well as being Japan’s, if not the world's, biggest car maker, it is a major sponsor for the Olympics and the Paralympics so Big Site being dug up is in its long-run benefit. Akio Toyoda, Toyota's president, holds a similar position at Jama, so he signed the show contract knowing full well that this year would be far from a vintage example of what has traditionally been one of the most technically interesting shows in the calendar. And it was the motor show which lost the most; in terms of logistics if not content it was one of the worst I have ever attended.

Nowhere was this clearer than on the Toyota stand, where Toyoda adopted his VTuber alter ego Morizo to introduce a series of vapourware concepts based around small electric single seaters and tiny concepts of a type that Toyota has played around with for years. Toyoda, who even introduced an electronic broom stick at one point (honest), claimed that the e-Palette and e-Racer will be available next year to hire and lease. Yet as one rival pointed out, this means that Toyota will be financing these products which are generally considered very hard to make money on, which begs the question just how serious he is or whether it's all a bit of amiable nonsense in the build up to next year.

Nevertheless there wasn't a single proper car on the Toyota stand, which is a bit sad because the new version of the fuel cell Mirai was worth making a bit of a fuss over and not many journalist made the trek over to the Mega Web which is a sort-of intergalactic Toyota dealership, to have a look.

Still if they're handing out e broom sticks perhaps Quidditch will be a new Olympic sport.


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