The Tokyo Motor Show has always been the one place to go to if you want to see futuristic concepts and unusual technologies in the automobile world. But at its 41st edition this year, which ends today, the show was reduced to nothing more than a local showing, thanks to the global economic crisis. None of the world’s big car makers showed up: The Germans and Americans skipped it, and after initially confirming its participation, even Hyundai pulled out. Luckily, the Japanese brigade made up by exhibiting some wild concepts and interesting production cars and bikes. Here’s my pick of the takeaways from Tokyo which I think would interest our Indian audience.
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Prius coming to India soon
The Toyota Prius, the third generation of the world’s best-selling hybrid car, is definitely coming to India. While the Tokyo Motor Show served as a platform for the plug-in hybrid concept version of the Prius, we will get the regular version that went on sale globally a few months ago. The car has a 1.8-litre petrol engine mated to an electric motor, which produces a combined
134 bhp. The Prius will be imported from Japan, so expect a steep price tag of approximately Rs25 lakh.
Lexus LFA, a winner all the way
Toyota also showed off its all-new and exclusive sports offering under the Lexus umbrella. The Lexus LFA is a significant car not because it is any less expensive than its contemporaries, but because it shows the world that the Japanese giant is right up there with the rest when it comes to super cars. Work began on this car nine years ago and Toyota wanted this car to be able to compete with others such as the Audi R8 and Lamborghini Gallardo, as well as Nissan’s GT-R. It is lightweight, thanks to the extensive use of carbon fibre. Its 4.8-litre V10 engine has been co-developed with Yamaha, and produces a massive 552 bhp. Lexus LFA touches a top speed of a cool
325 kmph. Only 500 of these will be made and the LFA will go on sale in late 2010 at between $350,000 (around Rs1.65 crore now) and $400,000 in Europe, Japan and the US.
Kizashi for India
A much humbler offering but one we can expect soon is the 2.4-litre Suzuki Kizashi. This is the largest sedan that Suzuki has ever developed. The Indian Kizashi will arrive by mid-2010 and will compete with the Corolla, Civic, et al. It has all-wheel drive, a start-stop button, and plenty of other high-end luxury and safety features. Expect it in India at approximately Rs9-11 lakh, but not the all-wheel drive, or the V6 variants.
New direction:The Suzuki Kizashi
Honda CR-Z, the real thing
The CR-Z is Honda’s promise of a sports hybrid, and is expected to hit production next year—the car you see is very close to the real thing. It will share some parts with Honda’s current hybrid model—the Insight, and even though the Insight will not make it to India in a hurry, cars such as the CR-Z are already being considered for emerging markets.
Most manufacturers maintained the theme of showing off the electric vehicles that they are considering for series production in the near future. That includes some innovative e-bikes and even fuel-cell scooters from Honda, Yamaha and Suzuki.
The author is editor, auto, NDTV.
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