Thursday, January 13, 2011

Toyota, Honda Join 2011 Tokyo Auto Salon

Just the Facts:
-The 2011 Tokyo Auto Salon, Japan's premier tuner show, opens Friday.
-There will be 640 cars on display, with Honda, Toyota and Nissan all taking major stands.
-New tuner CR-Z and "Toyota Miata" are among the highlights.

TOKYO — For Japan's legions of gearheads, all roads lead to the Makuhari Messe this coming weekend when the 2011 Tokyo Auto Salon throws open its doors.

As Japan's premier tuner/custom show, the Tokyo auto salon has always been this wild ride of cars, noise and aftermarket excitement and the 2011 show, with more than 600 cars on show and 361 exhibitors, has the makings of another classic.

We gave you a brief preview last week of Nissan's plans. Now, Toyota and Honda have just released a few details on their TAS displays.

Toyota, which put a massive effort into last year's show, promises another GRMN-tuned iQ special and will unveil the TES Concept T-Sports, an intriguing lightweight, compact, rear-drive sports car project — perhaps a precursor to some kind of "Toyota Miata." The new Vitz (Yaris) compact also gets the tuner treatment. No official word, but many hope the "Toyobaru" (a/k/a Toyota's FT-86 sport coupe) gets another airing.

Honda, amazingly, revives the NSX, unveiling a Sports Modulo edition of its classic midengine V6 coupe with genuine aftermarket parts. Honda also has the TS-1X test study model, based on the CR-Z hybrid coupe, but no further data is available on that prior to the show.

With hundreds of other small companies showing all manner of quixotic machinery (1,000-horsepower GT-R", for example), the frenetic 2011 Tokyo Auto Salon is all set for take-off.

Inside Line says: Anyone who thinks Japan has lost its mojo should check out the Tokyo auto salon. Japan's passion for speed, cars and excitement is definitely still alive and well. — Peter Nunn, Correspondent


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