January 12, 2013
Automakers Embrace Customization at the Tokyo Auto Salon 2013
Jan. 12 – Makuhari, Chiba – These are some of the wildest rides at Tokyo Auto Salon 2013.
For Japan’s car enthusiasts, the annual tuning and aftermarket show is a place to gather each January among a dazzling array of tricked up cars, vans and trucks.
Customization has long been a rich subculture for car lovers and represents a multi-billon dollar business with shows like this one getting bigger every year.
The trend shows signs of entering the mainstream with large automakers producing a growing number of factory-tuned performance cars, as well as more after-purchase customization options.
Increasingly, consumers want to show greater individuality through their cars but may not want to undertake changes themselves, says Takuya Ito, chief project manager for Nissan’s conversion and accessory buisness.
“We provide two directions for customers’ customization needs. The first is personalization, which is fashionable and trendy, while NISMO is for the sports direction, and it’s completely different in order to avoid cannibalization,” said Ito.
“Nissan can provide for a wide variety of customer needs.”
Nissan will start selling the high-performance Juke NISMO in February, while it also showed an all-electric LEAF with a specially developed NISMO body kit and a track-tuned version of the Fairlady Z at the Tokyo Auto Salon.
Brands including Toyota and Honda exhibited an array of customized cars at the event.
Honda displayed a slew of production and concept models, including its popular N-One minicar featuring multiple grille options.
Toyota showed cars from its G-series sports-conversion line, including the Aqua G Sports Concept hybrid.
“I think this is cool because we then don’t have to contract out the customization [after buying a car],” said Hiroshi Nakamura, a visitor to the show.
“Carmakers should be encouraged to do this and if they do, it gives us consumers more choices,” he added.
“It’s reassuring and we can trust them, so I think it’s very good,” said Keisuke Murakami, another visitor on the show’s first day.
And if that’s not to your tastes, it’s highly likely you’ll find something that appeals at the Tokyo Auto Salon.