Car fans flock to Tokyo Auto Salon to catch glimpse of newest concept
TOKYO — Car enthusiasts young and old flocked to Makuhari Messe Convention Center in Chiba over the weekend to see the latest trends in automobile modification and high-performance parts at the world’s largest custom-car expo.
This year’s three-day Tokyo Auto Salon featured more than 600 vehicles and more than 300 companies. Organizers said last year’s event attracted almost 330,000 visitors, and they were hoping for similar numbers this year.
From Friday through Sunday, visitors were able to see tricked-out rides, custom-parts vendors and drift-car demonstrations.
Toyota made waves as it tried to shake up its image by unveiling a customized G Sports Series. The line features five sporty new vehicles.
One eye-catcher in the new line was the G Sports Series FT-86. Crowds gathered to get a glimpse of the new concept car, while others swarmed to get a peek at the new sleek-looking Prius.
"It is said that now is a time when there is not much demand for cars," Toyota’s Campaign Production Division project assistant manager Takeshi Mori said. "We hope to attract those in their 30s with family who can’t spend money on [high-end] cars but want cool cars that are unique."
Tokyo Auto Salon 2010 also featured a custom-car contest. During the first two days of the show, visitors could vote for their favorites in such categories as concept cars, tuned cars and eco cars. Winners were to be displayed on the Tokyo Auto Salon Web site.
"I think this show is awesome," said Seaman Dustyn Jansen of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 115 out of Naval Air Station Atsugi, Japan. "There is a lot of cool stuff and nice cars."
After seeing many of the modified vehicles, Jansen said he hopes to buy a car in Japan soon and apply some of the modifications he saw at this year’s expo.