Blog: Chris WrightTokyo eyes China as industry bounces back after earthquake

Chris Wright | 30 November 2011

Japan's car industry continues to prove its resilience; a devastating earthquake and tsunami, floods at its factories in Thailand and the ongoing problems with the world economy nothwithstanding, carmakers have bounced back quickly with an array of new cars and technologies at this week's Tokyo show.

They are not out of the woods quite yet. The latest cloud is the strength of the yen which is making exports less profitable. The currency remains stubbornly strong despite the efforts by the government to cool things down but, speaking to Japan-based expats, they are all highly impressed at the way the country as a whole has bounced back.

Even in the aftermath of last March’s disaster there were no complaints, no apportioning blame but a collective desire to get things fixed – and quickly.

The car industry is back on show in Tokyo at the dazzling Big Sight exhibition halls in Tokyo Bay, a venue much more upbeat than the voluminous Makuhari halls.

To the regular show-goer like myself, however, there is a feeling that, as an event, the bi-annual Japanese show is losing out to China which is gaining more importance as the market there continues to grow.

The 42nd Tokyo show has more exhibitors than the 41st where all but the domestic carmakers pulled out as the economic crisis hit. This time round, many Europeans have returned including PSA, BMW, Volkswagen, Audi and Mercedes-Benz. There are still some absentees, notably Ford and General Motors – you couldn’t see them missing out on Beijing or Shanghai.


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