Mazda is getting racy. Nissan is determined to regain the lead in electric cars. And Lexus wants to remind the world it reinvented the luxury car market more than two decades ago.
For the first time in years, the Tokyo Motor Show isn't a quirky outlier in the auto show circuit. This could be the year that this onetime extroverted and over-the-top show regains all of its former swagger.
Why now? Well, it's because this year's show will allow Japan's major automakers the chance to do something totally out of character.
They can brag. They can boast. And, most importantly, they can remind the world that, not so very long ago, they taught the world how to build vastly better cars.
Gas is cheap, so let's all buy huge trucks! If you're old enough to remember, this happened once before, back in the late-1990s - and Detroit's Big Three were the worst culprits. Abandon small cars, let your family sedans go stagnant, and reap the rewards (and short-term profits) from selling trucks...lots and lots of trucks!
Nissan is going against the grain by continuing the push towards an electric automotive future. With what many consider to be the next-generation Leaf EV set to debut in Tokyo, Nissan has a golden opportunity to prove you don't need Tesla-levels of cash to enjoy a great electric car. Yes, Consumer Reports keeps 'breaking the internet' with Tesla vehicles that score massively in their testing. That's great, if you have $100K to spend on a sedan.
With greater range and a whole lot more visual excitement than the hatchback-only Leaf presently offers, Nissan could regain its position at the forefront of the EV market. Build a crossover, design a roadster, add a sedan and, oh my goodness, before you know it, Nissan could have a full suite of Leaf-based EVs we all can love. The first step occurs now, here in Tokyo.
A Japanese sports car revolution is brewing and we could have little Mazda to thank for it. Toyota once had the Supra and Celica, Honda had the S2000 and Prelude, Nissan the 240SX and 300Z, and Mitsubishi the Eclipse and Evo. Almost all of them went away, though a couple are attempting to stage a comeback.
However, when it came to technical audacity and sheer beauty, nothing came close to the last-generation Mazda RX-7. Powered by a Wankel rotary engine, the RX-7 was sex on wheels and loved to rev (and gobble fuel, but let's not digress). Fuel economy notwithstanding, Mazda remains the only Japanese automaker to win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, despite being a fraction of the size of its competitors.
With a new concept sports car set to break cover in Tokyo, could Mazda reignite the Japanese sports car war? Oh yes, we think it will. And it will have a Wankel rotary under the hood, you better believe it. And if we're wrong...blame Mazda.
Now here is a brand we absolutely love to love, and sometimes love to hate even more. Honda has won in Formula One with the likes of Aytron Senna and McLaren, and introduced an incredible array of sporty cars that didn't need to break the bank. The Prelude, CRX, and S2000 were all fantastic cars - and they're now all history.
Finally, Honda appears ready to find its inner-self, as the creator of sports cars that are affordable by the masses. The new U.S.-market Civic is a great first step, if you're looking to balance your budget (at least until the Type-R variant arrives!). Yet all the best car companies need a soul, and the Acura NSX is it for Honda. As the one-time halo of the Acura brand, the NSX was the pinnacle of Honda's technical expertise in the 1990s.
We love that the company is bringing back this supercar in hybrid form. Though we're even more excited about what this means for the Honda brand as a whole. A better Honda means the better car world, end of story.
We'd love to tell you that the S-FR concept set to be shown here in Tokyo has a chance at production, much less a future spot in Toyota's U.S. lineup. While part of this equation might come true, we aren't holding our breath that Toyota USA dealerships will ever have this 2-passenger, rear-wheel-drive sports car share showroom space with Camry sedans and RAV4 sport-utes.
That's okay because this year in Tokyo, Toyota's luxury division, Lexus, wants to remind the world how it reinvented the luxury car world 25 years ago. That was a time when German automakers had grown exceedingly lazy, while domestic brands like Cadillac and Lincoln were reeling from years of neglect.
When it burst onto the car scene in 1989, the original Lexus LS was a revolution; it was a bargain, it was quiet, and it was built like a bank vault, only better. Over the years, the LS has swollen in size and price. We're hopeful the new model once again establishes a new standard when it comes to refinement.
How did a piano make this list?!? Oh silly person, you forget that Yamaha has often been amongst the best behind-the-curtain engineering wizards. Sure, your old synthesizer is pretty cool, but Yamaha once built engines for Formula One. It was also the brains behind cars like the original (and very cool!) Ford Taurus SHO. The company also crafted the engine for the 1967 Toyota 2000GT - considered to be the first Japanese supercar - not to mention the banshee-like V-10 in the Lexus LF-A.
Oh yes, Yamaha also had one of the most incredible-looking supercars of all time. It was called the OX99-11 and had tandem-seating and a screaming V-12 mounted behind the cockpit.
Could Japan be ready to give the likes of Ferrari, Bugatti, and Mercedes-AMG a run for its money? Stranger still, might Yamaha be the one to lead the charge? The company could afford to throw everything into one all-for-nothing supercar, as a four-wheeled calling card for its technical prowess.
A Ferrari killer could be spelled Y-A-M-A-H-A. We love the sound of that, don't you?
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Source : http://www.nydailynews.com/autos/auto-shows/tokyo-motor-show-5-cars-rock-auto-world-article-1.2412827