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Tokyo show: Going crazy with commercials

Plenty of heart: Suzuki's Alto Heart Stand is derived from the sub-1000cc 2004 Alto, a Japan-only city car.

Commercial models and vehicles without barriers are the backbone of Tokyo motor show

1 Nov 2004

THE 38th Tokyo Motor Show, highlighting commercial vehicle development in Japan, runs for six days from Tuesday, November 2.

The show’s theme – Vehicles for people. Vehicles as partner – is meant to convey hope, freedom and environmental responsibility.

Here are some of the more interesting big-name displays.


SIX concepts and 11 production models will be released by Toyota at the Chiba venue.

Under its environmentally focussed "Ecology and Emotion" banner, Toyota’s new generation Hi-Ace van, dubbed a "multifunctional mobile studio", will materialise, alongside several obligatory customised versions.

Toyota will also present the Welcab concept, a self-operated vehicle for the elderly and disabled.

The other interesting vehicle to be shown will be the IMTS, a futuristic CNG-powered unmanned mass-transit bus designed for next March’s World Exposition in Aichi, Japan.


UNDER the "Lifecare" tag, Nissan’s output will include the Tiida Enchante, a next generation Pulsar with features designed to appeal to people with reduced mobility.

The most obvious is a motorised and reclining front seat that swivels, slides out and then raises/lowers for easy accessibility.

Already in production, the Enchante can be applied to a limited number of other Nissans too, like the Micra. Also at the show will be a 350Z for people with leg disabilities.

On the bizarre front is Nissan’s Caravan Box In Box concept. Aimed at the apparel industry, it has a removable inner box that can double "… as a handy showroom on wheels".

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UNDER the theme "Lively Motoring for Each and Every One of Us", Japan’s Number Two will reveal the PV van, which “helps you work in style”, and the Hobick left), a curiously retro-style ute that’s said to be big on comfort and accessibility.

Also on show will be the Jazz/Fit Sports Concept, described as a barrier-free vehicle which allows anyone to experience the thrill of sporty driving, while Honda’s next generation satellite navigation system with lane guidance and interactive weather service technology will also get a guernsey on its stand.


MITSUBISHI Motor Corp’s big news here is the Townbox Transporter, a user-friendly, barrier-free van with kneeling suspension. Entry and egress is via the rear hatchback, and comes with a ramp.

The Transporter will join a Grandis fitted with a swivel/slide-out and height-adjustable front passenger seat, as well as the Lancer Self-transporter featuring a driver’s barrier-free seat and automated loader, enabling wheelchair users to drive themselves.


MAZDA will preview its next generation Premacy mini-MPV, due early next year in Japan but not destined for Australia.

Meantime, environmental and economy concerns are at the heart of the Bongo (E-series) Van and Titan Dash Concepts. Both feature engine stop-start technology.

Also on the stand will be the Mazda2-based Verisa featuring a swivelling (by 85 degrees) and extending (by 340mm) passenger seat for reduced mobility passengers.


SUBARU’S stand will feature a host of Japanese-market models with hand-controls (Impreza and R2 mini car), rotating seats and wheelchair lifts (Liberty, Forester and Sambar forward-control van), and an advanced driving simulator.


THE centrepiece of the Suzuki stage will be the Alto Heart Stand derived from the sub-1000cc 2004 Alto, a Japan-only city car.

The difference here is the raised height and side windows that can be opened and used as a mobile stand, according to Suzuki.

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