Clean-air technology at the forefront of the major manufacturers' minds. Well, the ones that showed, anyway.
When it comes time to showcase the engineering minds of the big four Japanese manufacturers the Tokyo Motor Show is where it happens. It's where its been happening for the past 41 years. And not just for motorcycles either -- many of the Japanese car companies are also here as well. But like any other industry right now, the motorsport industry is feeling the hurt -- There are some names glaringly missing from the roll sheet. On the motorcycle side, Kawasaki is clearly feeling the hurt and doesn't have a presence at the show whatsoever; save from one attendee in a Team Green sweatshirt. Similarly, Suzuki, too, has a slim presence -- instead choosing to focus its efforts on the four-wheeled division. How much is the economy hurting Suzuki? Let's just say you know it's bad when the company doesn't even have its best selling model: the GSX-R on display (though one of Loris Capirossi's GSV-R machines is out here).
While attendance is down at the 2009 Tokyo Motor Show, no doubt due to the struggling economy, I'm glad to report that I'm on the ground here in Tokyo for an action-packed few days of motorcycling. Starting with the motor show. While officially here on a Honda press junket to tour the company's new Kumamoto factory and get a first ride aboard the new VFR1200F (of which you can expect features in the print version of the magazine), we also stopped off at Makuhari Messe, to check out what's new and exciting in both the two and four wheeled worlds at the motor show. And while I'd love to spoil all the fun and tell you how it went, you'll have to wait for an upcoming issue for my full report.
It is safe to say that both Honda and Yamaha had a strong presence this year and both have similar outlooks and focuses for the future: Clean Air Technology. The big buzz word nowadays, it seems the theme throughout the show for many of the manufacturers is to slowly reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and switch to more environmentally friendly alternatives.
That's about the most I can divulge at the moment. Stay tuned for my feature in a future issue of Sport Rider, where we reveal the exact steps Honda (along with most of the other OEMs) are taking in regards to its product line. Also watch out for a quick interview we had with the president and CEO of Honda, Takanobu Ito, about his new position and market strategy for the company. Until then, keep an eye out on the blogs for more from Japan.