Jeep leads return of Detroit brands at Tokyo Motor Show

Article by Andrew Christian, on May 26, 2015

Jeep will participate in the Tokyo Motor Show to be held on Oct. 29 to Nov. 8 – the first time that a Detroit automaker will have an exhibit at this show for almost a decade. Jeep is the top-selling American brand in Japan. The last time that the Detroit 3 took part in Japan’s flagship auto show was in 2007. When the economy suffered, many automakers decided to skip the 2009 show.

They haven’t returned since. Jeep last appeared in Japan in 2007 when it was still a Chrysler Group brand. At the Tokyo Motor Show this year, Jeep will be a part of the stand of FCA Japan Ltd. – which is the local Fiat Chrysler subsidiary that offers cars produced by Chrysler, Alfa Romeo, Jeep, Fiat, and Abarth.

FCA Intends to display eight vehicles from its four brands. Chrysler will be set aside this time. General Motors and Ford will not be joining but the comeback of Jeep drew interest in the Japanese market once again. The Tokyo Motor Show also benefits as it has been a challenge to get attention as China has been holding bigger shows.

Foreign automakers have to consider whether it chooses to spend money on Japan’s diminishing market or on other regional markets that continue to be strong. Japan’s brands will be attending the Tokyo show of course. Other brands that will be there include Audi, Mini, Citroen, DS, BMW, Fiat, Abarth, Jaguar, Land Rover, Alfa Romeo, Mercedes-Benz, Peugeot, Porsche, Renault, Smart, and Volkswagen.

The list was recently finalized by the organizers this week. In Japan, Jeep ranks as the seventh top-selling import brand. It falls behind German automakers like Mercedes, VW, BMW, Audi and Mini.

From January to April, Jeep’s sales in Japan increased by 21% after having sold 2,298 vehicles. This isn’t a very impressive figure but it’s still higher than Ford’s 1,625 units sold, Chevrolet’s 313 units, and Cadillac’s 297 units.

Sales of these units declined through April. In the first four months of 2015, there was a 6% drop in the total sales of foreign-brand imports with 95,504 vehicles sold. The Tokyo show this year has a “Technology & Fantasy” theme that the organizers hope will create enough of a buzz.

The 44th Tokyo show, which takes place every two years, is back to its usual late October schedule. In 2013, it unintentionally overlapped with shows held in Guangzhou, China, and Los Angeles.

The venue of the Tokyo Motor Show is at the waterfront convention center Tokyo Big Sight where it has been held since 2011. Press days are scheduled from Oct. 28 to 29. Media coverage is set on Oct. 29.

Those who bought special tickets also get advanced previews on this day. The 2013 event was attended by 902,800 visitors – the highest since 2007 before attendance shrunk due to the worldwide financial crisis. The show had only run for 10 days, much shorter than the 17-day run in 2007. This gave it the highest visitor daily ratio since 2005.

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