The Japan Automobile Manufacturers’ Association is debating whether to cancel the 2009 Tokyo Motor Show, a JAMA executive said today.
The discussion is driven in part by the decision of some non-Japanese automakers to shun the October venue amid the global financial crisis. But some Japanese exhibitors also are proposing that this year’s event be canceled.
“A couple companies are not in favor of organizing the show under these conditions, but that is not JAMA’s opinion,” Toshihiro Iwatake, JAMA’s executive director and secretary general, told Automotive News.
The 41st annual Tokyo Motor Show is scheduled to take place Oct. 23-Nov. 8. Press days are to be Oct. 21 and 22. The theme is “Fun driving for us, eco driving for earth.”
A decision on whether to postpone the show will be made by early next month, he said.
‘Symbol of industrial prosperity’
If the show were canceled, the next Tokyo event would take place in 2011, Iwatake said, citing scheduling agreements with other top-tier auto shows.
Iwatake said that he favors going ahead..
“We think the motor show is a symbol of industrial prosperity,” he said. “We have to show that our industry is healthy.”
He also said that he believes it is better to have a good, small venue than none at all. But he said that some JAMA members had expressed a view that a smaller show would reflect badly on the industry.
Moreover, he said that if the Tokyo show were canceled, “The Americans and Europeans will say, ‘Oh, Japan is sinking and the Chinese are up.’”
The deadline for automakers to sign up for the Tokyo show was late last year. Some of “the usual manufacturers” had not registered by the deadline, Iwatake said. He said that all of the German automakers and all of the Japanese members of JAMA had registered. He would not say whether the Detroit 3 automakers were among those who had not registered.
He said that late registrants would be welcomed.
A number of non-American automakers dropped out of the Detroit auto show under way this week.
The no-shows include Nissan Motor Co., Suzuki Motor Corp., Porsche AG, Rolls Royce and Land Rover. Mitsubishi Motors Corp. cancelled its corporate presence, but local Mitsubishi dealers put together an exhibit in the automaker’s place.
Will they blink?
Speaking on the sidelines of the Detroit auto show, a Japanese industry source said, “The question is, will one of the Japanese Big 3 blink?” He implied that if Toyota Motor Corp., Honda Motor Co. or Nissan were to pull out of the Tokyo show, that could doom the 2009 event.
But JAMA’s Iwatake insisted that if JAMA and the show organizers decide to go ahead with the 2009 show, all JAMA members would participate.
The Tokyo motor show’s steering committee will meet with representatives from the show’s three major exhibitor groups — JAMA, the Japan Auto Parts Industries Association, and another auto-industry association — to decide on the fate of the 2009 show, Iwatake said. He said that the show’s venue, Makuhari Messe, has to be reserved by the end of February.
In his New Year’s message released Jan. 1, JAMA Chairman Satoshi Aoki said of the Tokyo motor show, “JAMA is currently studying how best to organize the event. Keeping close tabs on developments in the global industry, we are aiming for a show concept that celebrates automotive excellence in an atmosphere truly geared to our times.”