Blog: Dave LeggettMatthew Beecham files exclusively from the Tokyo Motor Show [1]

Dave Leggett | 23 October 2003

The 37th Tokyo motor show, Japan’s answer to Frankfurt, flung open its doors yesterday to the ritualistic sound of wall-to-wall thumpin’ pumpin’ music. As the curtain went up on this year’s show, hundreds of journalists, photographers and cameramen flooded Makurhari Messe’s press centre, promptly setting up camp around every Internet accessible station, hence this filing typed from a smoke-filled Internet cafe.

Some 1.5 million visitors are expected to pass this way over the next fortnight, observing the show’s slogan: ‘The challenge: Driving toward a better future’. A total of 263 exhibitors from 14 countries are displaying their best, including some 200 parts suppliers. No less than 38 world premiere passenger cars are on show, underlining the significance of this bi-annual Asian showcase.

While padding around Sumitomo Electric’s stand, I got the tip-off that the company is planning to capture a ‘significant’ share of the North American and European wire harness market. Exactly how they plan to achieve that will be revealed tomorrow in an exclusive j-a interview with the MD.

European suppliers were also upbeat about China’s booming components industry. East-West strategic alliance were also topical, notably Hella’s three-year alliance with Japan’s Stanely Electric. More on that next week.

Better press on as a string of supplier conferences are about to start. And then it’s time to head back into town. My high-rise bee-hive is set in the middle of Shinjuku;s investment banker district, buzzing with conservatively-dressed worker bees. Every day some two million commuters use Shinju rail station. Everything is in perfect working order: trains are on time, there are no potholes in the roads or litter flying around. And the cars are in good shape, too. Those fortunate to run a car show courtesy while driving it. Although the streets are narrow and the buildings densely packed, moving from A to B is not a battle. People walk on the left and line up for trains. Chaotic scrums and road rage are absent. How refreshing. But only in Japan.

Matthew Beecham

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