Things are looking up for Japanese fans of American motoring, with confirmation today that Chrysler will be the first of the ‘Detroit three’ to return to the Tokyo Motor Show.
It was 2007 when Japan’s big biennial consumer motoring event last hosted any of the three major US carmakers.
In 2009, it was the global financial crisis that had Ford, GM and Chrysler battening down the hatches, and budget concerns saw a similar decision taken in 2013.
Now, Fiat Chrysler has confirmed the Jeep brand will lead the charge for Detroit in Japan, potentially driving Ford and GM to make announcements of their own.
The Chrysler brand will not be on show, but with Jeep being the seventh best-selling import brand in Japan, it will be the most important one on Fiat Chrysler’s stand, alongside Fiat, Alfa Romeo and Abarth.
In all, this year’s show will host all 14 of Japan’s major motoring manufacturers, along with 17 manufacturers - covering 27 brands - from abroad.
The news is a promising sign for the Tokyo Motor Show, which has struggled in recent years to maintain its profile alongside bigger events in the now hugely important Chinese market.
The show is far from struggling, however, with the 2013 event attracting 902,800 visitors, compared to 614,200 in 2009 - a result of the global financial crisis.
Another statistic reveals that the 2013 show, which ran only 10 days compared to the 17-day 2007 event, had the highest ratio of visitors per day since 2005.
Like many motor shows, however, Tokyo’s big event has seen better days: 1.42 million attended in 2007, while the 1991 show drew a crowd of 2.1 million visitors.
The 44th Tokyo Motor Show will be held at Tokyo Big Sight for 11 days from October 29 to November 8.
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