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2013年11月24日 (日)

モーターショー 「エコ」と「若者」で未来を競え

The Yomiuri Shimbun November 24, 2013
Eco-friendliness, youth key to future of auto production
モーターショー 「エコ」と「若者」で未来を競え(11月23日付・読売社説)

High-flying Japanese automakers are trying to attract attention to their most advanced eco-friendly technologies and next-generation vehicles for young people at the 43rd Tokyo Motor Show, which opens to the public on Saturday. This is a chance to demonstrate the resurgence of the national economy.

Thirty-two domestic and foreign automakers are taking part in the major auto show held under the theme of “Compete! And shape a new future.”

The 41st show, held in 2009 amid the aftereffects of the so-called Lehman shock, was lackluster, as was the 42nd installment in 2011 following the Great East Japan Earthquake.

In contrast, this year’s show is being held against the backdrop of a V-shaped recovery by automakers on the tailwind of a business recovery and a weaker yen that were brought about by the Abenomics economic policy promoted by the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Swedish automaker Volvo is showcasing vehicles at the Tokyo show for the first time in six years, while Tesla Motors Inc., an electric vehicle venture of the United States, is participating for the first time ever. Although the Big Three U.S. automakers are not taking part, there are 76 models on show for the first time, giving the show a vibrancy it has not had in years. We applaud this.

Of note is the proactive stance shown by the Japanese car manufacturers. They are emphasizing the car models’ key selling points, such as the pleasure of driving and the unconventional designs, as well as eco-friendly driving performance.

New concept models

Toyota Motor Corp. is unveiling its FCV Concept vehicle, a prototype of a fuel cell car to be marketed in 2015. It is also showing a one-seat vehicle that can be driven intuitively by the driver shifting their weight.

Nissan Motor Co. is unveiling its BladeGlider, an electric vehicle modeled after a delta wing, while Honda Motor Co. is showing an open sports car model, the S660 light vehicle, with the slogan of “continuing production of unconventional models.”

Daihatsu Motor Co. has unveiled a light car model whose doors and other parts can be replaced, while Suzuki Motors Corp.’s small sport-utility vehicle is attracting great attention.

Amid a shrinking domestic car market as young people turn away from driving, automakers are trying to revitalize the market by offering futuristic vehicles produced using innovative concepts.

Also on display is automatic driving technology using things like radio and radar to reduce speed to keep safe distances from cars ahead, or bring the car to a stop upon sensing obstacles.

In addition to Toyota and Nissan, Google Inc., a U.S. information technology firm, is competing with U.S. and German automakers to develop automatic driving technologies. Automatic driving is set to become a revolutionary technology, heralding a new era of vehicles, though many safety issues need to be resolved.

In addition to the Tokyo Motor Show, major auto shows are being held in Los Angeles and Guangzhou, China, cities in two nations with massive car markets. To what extent can Tokyo regain ground it has lost in recent years?

The car industry has a very broad base. We urge domestic automakers to take the lead in manufacturing with an aggressive strategy, and to serve as a driving force behind the growth of Japan.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 23, 2013)
(2013年11月23日01時56分  読売新聞)


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