Tokyo Motor Show Gets New Name, Broader Concept

Courtesy of Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association
An image of part of the Japan Mobility Show, which will be held in Koto Ward, Tokyo, later this year.

In a bid to rev up interest in Japan’s automobile industry, the nation’s largest vehicle extravaganza is returning with a new name, more exhibitors and a broader concept.

The Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA) has announced details of the event that was previously known as the Tokyo Motor Show but has evolved into the Japan Mobility Show and will be held at the Tokyo Big Sight convention center in Koto Ward, Tokyo, from Oct. 26. The rebranded event will showcase “co-creation” events that inspire people to think about the future of mobility, a concept that goes beyond the traditional boundaries of automobiles.

The Tokyo Motor Show was a biennial event. However, the 2021 show was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so the upcoming event will be the first in four years.

The Japan Mobility Show will be notable for the diverse range and sheer number of participating companies. More than 400 businesses are expected to take part — a record high and more than double the 192 that were involved in the previous event. Many of these companies are from outside the automobile industry.

“I hope that all of Japan’s industries will work together and aim to hold a completely new show that attracts many people,” JAMA Chairman Akio Toyoda said.

Exhibitors will include automakers and companies from the automotive parts industry, as well as airlines and firms from sectors such as finance, tourism and education. About 100 start-ups will also attend to show off their unique technologies and possibly hold business talks with major firms.

The Tokyo Motor Show tended to focus on promoting vehicle technologies and introducing new automobile models. At the 2019 event, electrical device makers, IT companies and other businesses earned rave reviews for exhibits that transcended conventional automobile boundaries, such as watching sports with cutting-edge imaging technology. About 1.3 million visitors attended the show.

The upcoming mobility show aims to build on this successful experience. JAMA’s eagerness to reform its most important event comes against a growing shift away from owning vehicles, particularly among young people. Domestic new auto sales peaked at about 7.77 million units in 1990, but this figure dipped below 5 million units in 2020.

The Yomiuri Shimbun

A similar trend was evident in Tokyo Motor Show visitor numbers. This figure reached a record high of about 2.01 million people in 1991, but visitors declined and remained sluggish in more recent years in a reflection of diminishing public interest in automobiles. The shows between 2009 and 2017 attracted fewer than 1 million visitors.

Japan Mobility Show organizers aim to have more than 1 million visitors come through the doors this year, and they will be using various events to bump up the figure. In the “Tokyo Future Tour” interactive area, visitors will be able to experience the roles mobility will play in a future society under themes including “food” and “emergency.” Musical-style performances will also be part of the entertainment.

Tickets to the show are on sale through the Japan Mobility Show official website. An advance-purchase ticket for the general public days costs ¥2,700, and entry is free for high school students and younger children. The show will be open to the general public from Oct. 28 to Nov. 5.