Two of Detroit’s ‘big three’ are definite no-shows for this year’s Tokyo motor show and a third is reported also to be staying home.

GM Asia Pacific chief Rick Brown told an industry paper the US$2m spent in 2007 would be better spent elsewhere this year.

“If you really look at the business conditions that we are in right now, where we really have to make a bang out of every buck we spend, it’s simply a business decision,” he said.

Chrysler is also out.

“Chrysler decided, under the current challenges and market situation the company faces, to pull out of TMS in 2009 in order to secure limited resources invested efficiently on activities necessary to sustain our business,” its Japan unit said in a statement.

Kyodo News had reported earlier that GM and Chrysler didn’t register for October’s event by the end-December deadline.

Spokeswoman Kazusa Yoshino said: “The deadline isn’t strict and we will still accept registrations.”

Other local media reports said Ford also would not attend and that the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA) was mulling cancelling the bi-annual event.

Details of the show including exhibitors would be announced in March or April.

Nissan Motor, Suzuki, Land Rover and Porsche were among automakers not attending the current Detroit motor show. In some cases, local dealers have stepped in to ensure their brands were displayed to potential local buyers nonetheless.

Toyota went to Detroit to showcase new hybrid models, including the third generation Prius, while Honda brought along its new Insight and fuel cell technology.