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Crowds return to Tokyo show

Big Sight: This year’s Tokyo show returned to the Japanese capital for the first time in 24 years.

Tokyo motor show attendance returns to pre-GFC levels of 2007

General News logo12 Dec 2011

TOKYO motor show organisers have proclaimed this year’s event a resounding success after 842,600 show-goers attended the 2011 fair, which ended at 5.00pm yesterday (December 11).

The Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA) says that figure was not only up 37 per cent on the dismal attendance the 41st Tokyo show drew in 2009, but came close to the 852,900 number attracted during the first 10 days of the 2007 Tokyo show, which ran for 17 days.

JAMA said the vastly improved spectator numbers showed the Japanese motor industry had demonstrated its in the face of adversity.

“We are confident that this show displayed to both Japan and abroad the resilience of Japanese manufacturing after overcoming many challenges,” said JAMA.

However, although it eclipsed the 2009 event - which drew just 614,200 people, the lowest figure since 1958 - this year’s running of Tokyo’s bi-annual automotive extravaganza still fell short of the 1.426 million it drew in 2007 and was less than half of the record 2,018,500 people that attended in 1991.

 center imageThis year’s truncated Tokyo motor show – the first to be held since the 2008 global financial crisis and Japan’s paralysing earthquake and tsunami on March 11 this year – was located at the smaller Big Sight convention centre in the Ariake-Odaiba area on Tokyo harbour for the first time in 24 years.

First held at Hibiya in 1954, the Tokyo show was an annual event for its first two decades, before being held every second year and shifting to its previous site at Makuhari in 1989.

Big Sight spans just 82,660 square-metres, making the 2011 TMS much more compact than other international motor shows, led by Frankfurt, which dwarfs Detroit (223,000sq-m), Shanghai (230,000sq-m), Paris (180,000sq-m) and Geneva (111,000sq-m).

Although it was also shorter than before, the 2011 show still included two weekends and attracted 15 Japanese brands as well as 25 overseas makers.

The 2009 show suffered the withdrawal of almost every international car manufacturer, including General Motors, Ford, Volkswagen, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Hyundai. Only 11 car-makers appeared, compared with 35 in 2007.

This year most major European brands were in attendance, including Audi, BMW, Citroen, Jaguar, Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz, Mini, Peugeot, Porsche, Renault, Saab and Volkswagen, plus AMG, Alpina, KTM, Range Rover and Smart.

However, notable Euro absentees included Volvo and Fiat group brands Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Ferrari and Maserati.

Nor was there any sign of the Korean or North American brands that were also absent in 2009, including Hyundai, Kia and SsangYong, and Chrysler (or its Dodge and Jeep brands), Ford and General Motors, including its Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac or European Opel and Vauxhall brands.

JAMA said it would advise details for the next Tokyo motor show – to be held in either September, October or November 2013 – by May next year.

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