The twenty-third annual Tokyo Motor Show opened on Wednesday (31 October) with displays of the latest Japanese and foreign models.
The twenty-third annual Tokyo Motor Show opened on Wednesday (31 October) with displays of the latest Japanese and foreign models. The Japan Automobile Association announced on Monday (29 October) the export in October of almost four hundred thousand vehicles -- seventeen percent up on the figures for September 1978. Improved sales to the United States and the European Economic Community countries accounted for the increases, according to the Association.
SYNOPSIS: The Tokyo Motor Show at the Harumi International Trade centre was opened by Prince Takamatsu. As the price of oil continues to soar, and threatens the American automotive industry, it has been a great boost to the sale of Japan's smaller cars.
Japan's two major car makers are Datsun and Toyota. It is cars like this one -- the Datsun Bluebird Sedan 2000 that are slowly replacing the larger American models. But both Datsun and Toyota have reported fewer exports at the beginning of 1979, reflecting smaller shipments to the United States as domestic manufacturers there try to compete with their own compact cars.
But Japan's car industry enjoys a steady domestic demand, and their factories are highly productive. More than half the families in Japan own cars, putting more than eighteen million privately owned cars on the road today. The domestic demand continues despite the effects of OPEC's raise in crude oil prices in June. Petrol prices are up sixty percent over last year's prices.
But there was still room at the motor show for the latest foreign models. Although Japan has entirely lifted import duties on cars, most imports are still too costly for the average buyer. The market share of imported cars is steady at about one percent, and so they remain status symbols for those who can afford them.