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Tokyo Motor Show loses cast of star performers


BY AKIKO SUZUKI AND SOICHI FURUYA, THE ASAHI SHIMBUN

2009/3/16



A wave of defections by some of the world's biggest automakers has soured preparations for this year's Tokyo Motor Show and forced organizers into a fruitless search for new participants.

For the first time, the "Big Three" U.S. automakers--General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Corp.--have all declined to take part in the event to save money and focus on riding out the global economic crisis. Four Japanese manufacturers have also elected not to participate.

In recent months, plummeting sales have battered the auto industry, forcing many of the biggest makers to shed thousands of jobs and limit their appearances in motor shows strictly to countries they consider essential to their business plans.

The Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA) held the first Tokyo Motor Show in 1954. More recently it has staged the event, one of the five biggest motor shows in the world, every two years. This year it will hold the event in Makuhari Messe event hall in Chiba from Oct. 24 through Nov. 8.

"We're in the midst of a management crisis," said an official of the Japanese arm of General Motors. "If we wanted to take part (in the show), we'd have to spend several hundreds of millions of yen. What we should be doing now is concentrating on selling as many cars as possible and boosting profits."

Among Japanese commercial vehicle manufacturers, Isuzu Motors Ltd., Hino Motors Ltd., Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corp. and Nissan Diesel Motor Co. have all opted not to participate in the show to save money.

After the sudden escalation in the financial crisis last September, which forced several companies to drop out of this year's show, JAMA turned for the first time to automakers in China and India. None were interested.

Sales of new cars in Japan have decreased over most of the past 19 years. JAMA estimates they will fall to about 4.86 million units this year--the first time in 31 years that the figure has sunk below 5 million. The figure is also about 40 percent below the peak of 7.77 million, recorded in 1990 at the height of the asset-inflated "bubble" economy.

Automakers have received the approval of JAMA to use this year's show to promote sales, partly by prioritizing the exhibition of cars already on the market over those still under development. It will also secure wider floor spaces for talks between exhibitors and visitors.

At its largest, in 1991, the show hosted 336 companies and received more than 2 million visitors. In 2007, however, only 241 companies took part. The number of visitors fell to 1.42 million.

The downward slide has been attributed to waning enthusiasm for cars among young Japanese.

To counter this, JAMA will this year increase the categories of people who can enter for free to include junior high school students.(IHT/Asahi: March 16,2009)
 

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Tokyo Motor Show to be shortened by 4 days+

Mar 23 09:22 AM US/Eastern


TOKYO, March 23 (AP) - (Kyodo)—This year's Tokyo Motor Show, originally slated to run for 17 days between late October and early November, will be shortened by four days as a number of automakers are withdrawing from the event amid the global auto slump, sources familiar with the matter said Monday.

Its organizer, the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, will announce the decision Tuesday, the sources said, adding the exhibition space will also be sharply smaller than the previous show held in 2007.
 
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