Given the current auto industry state of play, a slimmed down, eye-on-the-budget, Frankfurt motor show was expected, and so it proved. But, while visitor numbers were estimated off 25% to 750,000, several well-known Japanese brands (not including Mazda, which has long been popular in Germany) stayed away, BMW kept its tent folded and the lavish on-stand hospitality of some previous years was noticeably absent, the show was still the usual sprawl.