Tokyo Motor Show 2021 canceled, coronavirus pandemic to blame.
The Tokyo Motor Show is not a motorcycle show. Auto manufacturers and other auto manufacturers also attend the show. It may not be as well known to North Americans and Europeans as the big motorcycle shows like EICMA and Intermot, or the big motor shows like Geneva. However, it is a major show for Japanese car and motorcycle OEMs. It takes place every two years, the year opposite Intermot, and at roughly the same time slot, around October. Just as Intermot is seen as an important secondary launch point for European industry, just behind EICMA for these OEMs, Tokyo is seen as an important trade fair for the Big Four. Often times, this is where we get our first glimpse of the most interesting Japanese concept bikes, as well as the craziest experimental technology and design.
And, just as Intermot was canceled in 2020, we are now seeing the Tokyo Motor Show canceled for 2021. The news comes as Japanese authorities battle cases of COVID, with Tokyo, Osaka and two other prefectures currently in a state of emergency. until May 11. With the Summer Olympics still scheduled for later this year, authorities are working to get things under control.
This is the first time that the Tokyo Motor Show has been canceled since its founding in 1954. In recent years, show organizers have expected up to 1.3 million viewers; with the ongoing pandemic, it’s unclear what the attendance would have been, even if the show had been cleared to run.
So, will there even be a circuit of shows left, once the pandemic is over?
At this point, many OEMs in Europe and Asia are working on their own virtual launch plans, with some companies saying they plan to focus on digital bike disclosures. It was starting even before the pandemic, and you can bet those plans have escalated. Suzuki seems eager to push its global motorcycle show, and Honda has a similar virtual space staked out. They probably aren’t shedding tears over the Tokyo cancellation.
EICMA is still scheduled for November 23-28 this fall, and China has already returned to business as usual, running Auto Shanghai 2021 at the end of April.