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Posts Tagged ‘2011 tokyo motor show’

Nissan Hints it May Build Off-the-Wall Pivo 3

Simplifying urban driving.

by on Dec.02, 2011

Nissan hints there's a future for Pivo 3.

In keeping with Tokyo Motor Show tradition, Nissan has, over the years, introduced an assortment of odd and unusual concept vehicles.  Yet, it has also had a history of putting some of the more promising ones into production, including a series of so-called “Pike Cars,” like the snail-shaped S-Cargo.

So, as the maker displays the third in a series of show cars dubbed Pivo perhaps it’s no wonder why folks are wondering whether the Nissan Pivo 3 just might also make the jump from concept to production.

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The latest to get the Pivo name since 2005, this year’s Nissan Pivo 3 concept targets the emerging market for so-called Urban Mobility Vehicles, micro-sized vehicles that can navigate the crowded streets of cities like Tokyo, Beijing, London, perhaps even New York, and leave an environmental footprint even smaller than the vehicle itself.

“This is not just a show car,” the maker suggested, adding that, “PIVO 3 is what Nissan envisions to be a more ‘realistic’ EV of the near future.”

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Subaru Unveils “Ultimate” WRX STI Along With New Impreza Sedan, Hatch

Little maker makes big news at Tokyo Motor Show.

by on Dec.01, 2011

You'll need a big suitcase to bring the "ultimate" Subaru WRX STI S206 back from Japan.

While it’s understandable that most visitors to the Subaru stand at this year’s Tokyo Motor Show might focus their attention on the long-awaited BRZ sports car they’d certainly be making a mistake.

The little Japanese maker is making plenty of other big news – including the launch of the Impreza WRX STI S206 and two all-new versions of the mainstream Impreza line-up.

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The “ultimate” STI, sadly, will be offered in only limited numbers in the home market, but you can expect to see the next-generation Impreza G4 and Sport models in the very near future in most major markets.

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A Battery Car Without the Battery?

Takeri concept pushes design, technology envelopes with show car hinting at next Mazda6.

by on Dec.01, 2011

Mazda's Takeri concept with CEO Takashi Yamanouchi.

A battery car without the battery?

Electric propulsion is the hot technology in the auto industry these days and might have a serious chance of transforming the cars we drive were it not for a serious problem: the high cost and other limitations of even the most advanced batteries.  But with the Tokyo Motor Show introduction of the Takeri concept vehicle Mazda suggests it may have an even more high-tech solution that provides many of the advantages of battery cars without the batteries.

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The Mazda Takeri itself is the latest effort by the Japanese automaker to stretch the design limits using its new Kodo design language.  But one of the more interesting features is hidden under the skin. That’s the i-ELOOP system that is part of Mazda’s first in-house mild hybrid system.

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High-Tech Honda AC-X To Influence Next Accord

But don’t expect its twin-lever steering anytime soon.

by on Dec.01, 2011

The Honda AC-X body reportedly bears some strong similarities to the next-gen Accord.

It just might be the perfect car for the videogame generation – though the Honda AC-X concept should also appeal to those who don’t like driving at all.

Short for Advanced Cruiser Experience, the concept on the Honda stand at this year’s Tokyo Motor Show is subtly reminiscent of the maker’s current FCV fuel-cell vehicle, which has been leasing in Southern California, but the Honda AC-X turns to a plug-in hybrid drive system while introducing a variety of features meant to improve fuel-efficiency and explore new methods of driving.

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That includes the Twin-Lever Steering system, or TLS, which replaces the long-familiar steering wheel with two joysticks.  They fold away if a driver switches the AC-X to autonomous mode, which would allow someone to get a few minutes extra sleep during the morning commute.

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First Look: BMW Active 5 Hybrid

German maker goes green for Tokyo.

by on Nov.30, 2011

BMW Board Member Ian Robertson introduces the new Active 5 hybrid.

Japanese automakers are virtually tripping over one another to show the public who’s the greenest manufacturer of them all.  Now, BMW is entering the fray.  The German marque, one of the few foreign brands to still have a presence at the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show, is giving the first public showing to the all-new BMW Active 5 Hybrid.

Bringing a hybrid into the Japanese market isn’t easy, acknowledged BMW Board Member Ian Robertson.  It is, after all, “the land that has made hybrid cars so well-known.”

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Nonetheless, the Bavarian marque is betting that it can gain traction with the new BMW Active 5 which, it proclaimed during a media preview, “is the world’s most powerful and efficient hybrid in its segment.”

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First Look: Nissan Juke NISMO

Power to the people.

by on Nov.30, 2011

Nissan will put the Juke on NISMO-brand steroids.

The Nissan Juke has proven wildly popular, selling more than 232,000 copies in its brief time on the market.  Now, bets the number two Japanese maker, it could build up demand by pumping up performance.

The Nissan Juke NISMO will be the most mainstream model yet to wear the maker’s performance badge, said CEO Carlos Ghosn during a Tokyo Motor Show preview, calling the compact crossover, “a logical platform to take NISMO…in a mainstream product range.”

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Brazilian-born Ghosn didn’t have much more to say about the Nissan Juke NISMO Concept, though a press release fills in a few blanks about the prototype, which starts off with a lower, wider and decidedly more aggressive look than the more mainstream crossover.

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Suzuki Keeps Tradition Alive with the Wacky Q-Concept and Retro-Futuristic Regina.

Small cars for a big future?

by on Nov.30, 2011

The Suzuki Q-Concept.

The 2011 downsized Tokyo Motor Show may not have the grandeur of years past but thanks to Suzuki tradition remains alive.

The biennial event has long been known for bringing us some of the wildest-weirdest and wackiest concept vehicles – and that’s about the best way you can describe the three concepts brought to the show by Suzuki as part of its corporate theme, “Small cars for a big future.”

That notably includes the Q-Concept, which company officials described as “ideal for everyday journeys within a radius of about six miles,” during the makers Tokyo Motor Show news conference.

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Its bright orange body would likely look more appropriate in a Japanese manga comic strip than on the streets of modern-day Tokyo, the split two-piece doors opening up like a children’s toy to give it a distinctive, Q-like shape.  The interior, meanwhile, can be outfitted with a single, rotating front seat and used for, say, pizza – or sushi? – deliveries, or two child-sized seats can be added in the rear.

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It’s Official This Time: Subaru Reveals the Production BRZ

Is racing in the new sports car’s future?

by on Nov.30, 2011

Subaru's new sports car, the BRZ, gets its long-awaited introduction.

It may not have been the longest gestation in automotive history but it was beginning to feel like it, both Subaru and Toyota staging seemingly endless advance looks at the new sports car they’ve been jointly developing.

Now, the long wait has finally come to an end, the two Japanese makers staging separate news conferences at the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show to reveal what their efforts have wrought.

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Despite some earlier indications, there’s relatively little difference between the Subaru BRZ and its step-sibling the Toyota 86 (which will be called the GT-86 in Europe and Scion FR-S in the States).  Stretch and you’ll spot some modest tweaks that offer slight distinctions between the two models.  But there isn’t much else to differentiate them – if that matters – beyond the Subaru’s bumpers and a side air intake that replaces an “86” badge on the Toyota.

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VW Teases with Cross Coupe Concept

Production likely, but U.S. may not get another new VW model, the Passat Alltrack.

by on Nov.30, 2011

VW's Cross Coupe Concept reveals "the new face of future SUVs from Volkswagen."

One of the few foreign manufacturers to stage a presence during – or unveil any new products at – the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show, Volkswagen rolled out two surprises for the assembled media masses.

The first to roll onto the stage will also be the first to reach market: the latest spin-off of the popular VW Passat platform, the new Alltrack.  But the maker also revealed a striking concept vehicle, the Cross Coupe, a senior official all but confirming it, too, will find a place in the maker’s global line-up.

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And, at the very least, expect its basic design to help reshape the maker’s current crossover line.

With its bigger wheels, increased approach and departure angles and upgraded suspension, the Passat Alltrack “closes the gap between the conventional Passat and VW’s SUVs) like the Tiguan,” noted product boss Ulrich Hackenberg, during a preview on the maker’s stand.

The new Passat Alltrack with VW's Ulrich Hackenberg.

The well-equipped crossover will come with a range of goodies, including leather-wrapped wheel and an optional navi package.  It’s got the familiar, cavernous Passat interior, here offering even more head and cargo space – with a rear cargo hold that handles 21.3 cubic feet of luggage – expanding to 61.1 cf with the rear seats folded down.

Four engines, two gas and two diesel, will be offered, including a 208 hp petrol offering and a high-mileage 138 hp turbo-diesel.

The Passat Alltrack was quickly followed by the Volkswagen Cross Coupe Concept – which appears destined to fill the niche just below the current Tiguan.

“We wanted to create a sense of understated performance,” VW design czar Klaus Bischoff said of the show car, with its sports car-like short overhangs and “condensed” greenhouse.  The goal was to give the Cross Coupe a feel “as if it were milled from a block of metal,” he added.

The front end features a grille whose crossbars now flow into the Cross Coupe’s xenon headlamps.  Look closely and you will see what Bischoff describes as “the new face of future SUVs for Volkswagen.”

But what about the concept itself?  Might it see production?

“Perhaps,” hinted the German giant’s CEO Martin Winterkorn.  The telltale smile and nod gave further indication that the Cross Coupe Concept is more than just a design exercise that will vanish from view once this auto show season wraps up.

First Look: Honda EV-Ster

Japanese maker provides tantalizing hint of what it may have coming.

by on Nov.30, 2011

Honda's electric sports car concept, the EV-Ster.

It’s just a concept.  It’s just a concept. That, at least, is what Honda is officially calling the EV-Ster, the show car making its debut at this year’s Tokyo Motor Show.  But you certainly should anticipate seeing some of the basic technology under its sexy hood reaching market in the not very distant future, company officials broadly hint.

The Honda news conference in Tokyo disappointed some who had been hoping to see a long-anticipated revival of the maker’s extreme NSX sports car.  That will likely have to wait until the upcoming Detroit Auto Show.

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If anything, the EV-Ster is a bit closer to the old Honda S2000, a more modest and affordable sports car that would pick up on the Honda brand’s historical emphasis on performance.

The goal was to create a look that expresses speediness at the same time as sustainable mobility,” said Honda design exec Ichiro Tobisawa.

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