Fancy a giant car show which covers nothing but the best Japanese aftermarket parts? Come the Tokyo Auto Salon (東京オートサロン Tokyo ŌtoSaron). It is an annual mega car show that has been held for the past 37 years in Tokyo Japan. Also, it is one or the biggest annual automotive event with focus on the aftermarket parts. The event ran over the weekend of 13-15th January this year. Let’s check out the Tokyo Auto Salon 2017 in the flesh.
Moreover, the show was held on the outskirts of downtown Tokyo at the Makuhari Messe International Convention Complex. Also, it is situated in Chiba City, Japan. On your 45 minutes train ride journey from downtown Tokyo, you will pass by Tokyo Disneyland.
It is conveniently served by JR lines with a station (Kaihimmakuhari) right in front of the convention hall mall. Moreover, here you can find eateries serving the convention center grounds. It is great for a quick lunch before the event entrance, which is a 10 minute walk away.
Huge halls of event
Aftermarket auto tuning is a big thing in Japan, with a sizable market to boot. And I meant, really large, like 11 halls large. The show spans 11 exhibition halls in the convention center grounds. This is a lot bigger in person as this excludes a concert hall and outdoor demo segment area.
Also, for the record, the 2013 Tokyo Auto Salon has great numbers for a car show, featuring 802 vehicles, 452 exhibitors, and 3,608 booths. This show aims to beat those numbers hands down. There are interesting cars on display at every corner.
Moreover, the event is so large, it takes an entire day to literally touch base and check out every single booth and car, with some people taking at least 2 full days to see everything. Furthermore, in comparison, each hall here is the size of an entire hall in a typical Suntec Singapore IT show. Imagine having to go through 4 times the galleries packed brim to brim with exhibits.
Hence, it is wise to arrive early in the mornings at opening, till closing. Furthermore here, in addition to small custom tuner shops, you can find the performance tuning division of big-name manufacturers. Navigating the halls is easy, and they are all logically laid out and connected indoors without having to head out into the freezing winter.
The Auto Salon runs three days over a January weekend starting Friday (2:00pm – 7:00pm) for premium ticket holders. Also, the weekend is where the bulk of attendees would attend from 9am to 7pm.
Additionally, the Tokyo Auto Salon is a major car show on the Japanese automaker calendar to showcase new and current models. Here, we see huge booths from large automakers such as Toyota, Mitsubishi, Honda, Suzuki, Nissan, and Subaru.
Moreover, each automaker also presents their respective tuning divisions. We have Subaru STI, Toyota TRD and Honda Racing. There is also a notable German presence with Volkswagen and Mercedes. Tuner and motor cult favorite you see plenty here include the R35 Nissan GTR, as well as the AE86.
Technical and creativity showcase
Also, automakers also take the opportunity to showcase their technical prowess of their cars. Ranging from Technical performances, to impressive cut-outs of cars explaining the various engineering components.
Additionally, in addition to big name automakers are small custom cars design houses, as well as after-market manufacturers. The cars here are largely enhanced and modified from stock, with great attention to detail.
Furthermore, an interesting sector is the camping van corner. You can find several vans here on display and for sale too. This comprised of sleeper vans, and those with a roof tent extension.
Furthermore, if you like a break, there is also live entertainment which you can view in in the convert hall venue. Here, you can find performances from musicians around the world, talk shows hosting famous drivers, celebrities and even simulator races. The hall is also where the rare car auction takes place too.
Additionally, to go with the displays are the reowned “Booth Babes”. These ladies literally steal the show at every Auto salon. You can find them with huge crowds of cameramen snapping photos of them.
Moreover, these show ladies who typically model for a particular car brand or store tend to have a following of fans from various other auto shows throughout the country. It is tad equivalent like high profile cosplayers in anime convention.
Notably, it is not uncommon to see big groups gathering whenever these booth babes are on duty. Also, this range from new product launches or just means to get huge attendee crowds to a booth. It is highly effective.
In addition to after-market parts and manufacturers are custom shops, care manufacturers, and automotive vocational schools. Automotive businesses are the name of the name here. In addition, a large segment of Tokyo Auto Saloon is the large variety of performance and custom dress-up parts and technology displays by major Japanese automakers.
Also, it is not uncommon to see large displays of aftermarket modification parts here at Tokyo Auto Salon 2017. Several certified for used by OEMs themselves. Several of these parts are forged from the finest materials and are often better than the OEM parts they replace to deliver more performance.
Additionally, these components such as full chrome exhausts, engine camshafts, pistons and re-bored engine blocks are all openly displayed as the primary goods of trade. It is a spectacular sight indeed.
Also, this is notably not surprising as Japan has one of the largest aftermarket market. Tokyo Auto Saloon is hosted by the Nippon Auto Parts Aftermarket Committee (NAPAC). Sadly, this form of mechanical artwork and parts market is non-existent in Singapore, given the very strict rules on car modification in the nanny state.
In addition to engines is an extensive showcase section of individualism and expression. You can find cars deck out with customised interiors.
Moreover, a number of show cars are also decked with utmost luxury and bodywork covered full of crystals or chrome. Also, an interesting thing is the trade on-show, where aftermarket accessories can be purchased or ordered on-site.
Moreover, these show car interiors are often up on display with hand-stitched precision to detail. Interestingly, you could purchase rides on display right in the show if they are available for sale. Or if need be commission the makers here to retrofit your ride in their workshop.
Moreover, Interesting items includes the aftermarket exhibition showcase. Here, you can find a huge selection of Supercars. They are often tricked out beyond stock, often with rather ostentatious exteriors.
Furthermore, interestingly, even aftermarket car seat makers such as Bride, Sparco and Recaro seats have their display booth lined with lines of their seats for attendees to have a seat in. Notable, it is a good place to rest for moments after a long day of walking. Also,
Outdoor drift segment
Lastly but definitely not least is the action packed outdoor drift display. It is held at the outdoor event site beside the event hall. Do turn up early for this event as it can get rather crowded and to find a good viewing point. Also, the Japanese are extremely punctual when turning up for these events, with crowds forming ahead of time.
Additionally, leading the line-up of cars in the drift event are a notable number of rear wheel drive (FR), and four wheel drive cars ranging from the new Honda NSX, McLaren 720, AMG GTs, Nissan R35 GTRs, to even a less drifty front wheel drive (FF) Golf GTI.
Fun day with tires
Moreover, each car is introduced by a driver interview dialogue before the drift demo begins in the outdoor circuit. This is done with a camera crew which records and plays the event throughout the convention grounds. Also, so you can watch them from the comfort of the halls or convention dining areas if need be.
Still, these performance cars are all cult favourites. With each of the car’s traction control system off, they have an uncanny ability to vaporise rubber into plumes of white smoke.
Furthermore, notably, the outdoor drift event site is where Tire makers such as Dunlop and Toyo tires showcasing their products, as well as being sponsor segments in the outdoor drift show. Also, here, their signs and billboard poster prominently placed on an outdoor showcase area. For this year’s edition, we have Toyo tires sponsoring the outdoor drift segment.
All in all, Tokyo Auto Saloom 2017 was quite an eye-opener and definitely a petrol head motor haven. It blows you away especially visiting for the first time. If you are into cars and in Tokyo during the January period, Tokyo Auto Saloon is a highly recommended event for the displays, performance and simply just soaking into the car culture.