More Peeks Into Toyota's Future: Tokyo Motor Show Preview

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

According to my informants, the Tokyo Motor Show will degrade into a „regional show“ and will pale in comparison to the monster shows in Shanghai or Beijing. Toyota will ignore that, and its exhibit will be “likely one of the most closely watched ones of the show,” as Automotive News [sub] says.

The crowd magnet will be a car which Toyota steadfastly refers to as the “compact, rear-wheel-drive sports vehicle jointly developed by Fuji Heavy Industries and TMC.” Any guesses what it may be?

Autoguide already publishes under-hood pictures, but Toyota will release neither name of the FT-86 / Scion FR-S, nor will it hand out pictures, even under strict I-will-cut-your-fingers-off-if-you-break-it embargo. First in-the-flesh pictures should appear on Sunday, November 27. How do I know that? Trust me.

Did I say no pictures? You will drown in pictures after the jump …

There will be the Aqua / Prius C.

Also in the nearly good to go dept. is the Prius Plug-in Hybrid, which will go on sale in Japan “in early 2012.” Its fuel economy is advertised as “exceeding 57 km/L”, which would convert to a mind-blowing 134 mpg, if the darned EPA would accept the Japanese JC08 numbers. The EV cruising range is said to be 23.4 km (14,5 miles) enough to get to the store and back.

Further in the nearly ready dept., Toyota says that it is “developing EVs with the aim of launching a vehicle suitable for short-distance travel in 2012.”

Instead of the real thing, Toyota will show the FT-EV III “electric concept vehicle” with an “estimated cruising range of 105 km on a fully charged battery.” That would be 65 miles, somewhere in the neighborhood of the Nissan Leaf, unless those pesky EPA numbers play tricks on us. We’ll see what the production model will bring.

Moving on out to 2015, we shall see “a practical sedan-type next-generation fuel-cell concept vehicle fueled by hydrogen.” That (and Toyota seems to be making a point by repeating it) “highly practical fuel-cell vehicle is planned for launch in about 2015.” As Chief Engineer Satoshi Ogiso told us, they aren’t fooling around.

People who are still fascinated by the LHD/RHD phenomenon may notice that in the hydrogen-powered concept the steering wheel is on the left hand side. Read into it whatever you desire, but don’t dwell on it.

Finally, there will be the Toyota Fun-Vii, “a concept vehicle that heralds a future where people, cars and society are linked.” I don’t have the vaguest idea what that may be. According to the picture, it could be a vehicle propelled by flower-power.

Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href=""> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href=""> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

More by Bertel Schmitt

Join the conversation
2 of 5 comments
  • Vance Torino Vance Torino on Nov 15, 2011

    If that's the real Prius C (Aqua? Really, JDM?), it's the first time I've seen its final form - and, well, it's NOT AS BAD as I expected. Sort of Yaris-y in the generic Toyota idom. Doesn't broadcast it's hybrid-ness, tho. (Which is not a small part of the regular Prius appeal.) All minor sins absolved if fuel economy is awesome and price reasonable. Otherwise, it will join the Insight, CR-Z, and HS250 in hybrid purgatory.

  • Unhittable curveball Unhittable curveball on Nov 24, 2011

    If that interior makes it to production.....that's like driving an ipad :D

  • Varezhka The biggest underlying issue of Mitsubishi Motors was that for most of its history the commercial vehicles division was where all the profit was being made, subsidizing the passenger vehicle division losses. Just like Isuzu.And because it was a runt of a giant conglomerate who mainly operated B2G and B2B, it never got the attention it needed to really succeed. So when Daimler came in early 2000s and took away the money making Mitsubishi-Fuso commercial division, it was screwed.Right now it's living off of its legacy user base in SE Asia, while its new parent Nissan is sucking away at its remaining engineering expertise in EV and kei cars. I'd love to see the upcoming US market Delica, so crossing fingers they will last that long.
  • ToolGuy A deep-dive of the TTAC Podcast Archives gleans some valuable insight here.
  • Tassos I heard the same clueless, bigoted BULLSHEET about the Chinese brands, 40 years ago about the Japanese Brands, and more recently about the Koreans.If the Japanese and the Koreans have succeeded in the US market, at the expense of losers such as Fiat, Alfa, Peugeot, and the Domestics,there is ZERO DOUBT in my mind, that if the Chinese want to succeed here, THEY WILL. No matter what one or two bigots do about it.PS try to distinguish between the hard working CHINESE PEOPLE and their GOVERNMENT once in your miserable lives.
  • 28-Cars-Later I guess Santa showed up with bales of cash for Mitsu this past Christmas.
  • Lou_BC I was looking at an extended warranty for my truck. The F&I guy was trying to sell me on the idea by telling me how his wife's Cadillac had 2 infotainment failures costing $4,600 dollars each and how it was very common in all of their products. These idiots can't build a reliable vehicle and they want me to trust them with the vehicle "taking over" for me.