Big in Japan: The future of Japanese automotive design

This week (and last), Big in Japan will be bringing you scenes from the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show (???????????????????????) at Makuhari Messe in Chiba City.

For an overview of this biennial event, be sure to read Scenes from the Tokyo Motor Show. For all of you road warriors out there, don’t miss A look at the future of motorcycles. For anyone who loves crazy concept cars, check out The Nissan Pivo2 can pivot on a dime. For an intriguing look at the future personal transportation, see The Nissan Pixy will help us survive the apocalypse.

Do you love the Japanese design aesthetic? So do I.

From the chic minimalism of Japanese interior spaces to the efficiency and reliability of Japanese electronics, form and function is indeed a virtue here in the Far East.

With that said, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that form and function were key themes at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show. If you’ve been wondering where Japanese automotive design will take us in the years ahead, keep reading as you’ve come to the right place.

Whether you use your car as a business, a home away from home or as your key to the great outdoors, you’re going to love what the future holds.


Although space is something that most North Americans take for granted, the mind-blowing density of Japan’s urban landscapes necessitates good design.

Indeed, here in Japan it’s not about how big your apartment is, but what you do with the space that counts.

So, it’s only natural that automotive design in the years ahead will reflect our individual needs to a greater extent.

For instance, although most Americans choose car interiors based on whether or not they want cloth or leather, Japanese car manufacturers are hoping that fully customizable interiors will be the wave of the future.

Although the idea of relaxing in your car with good friends may seem far-fetched, it’s not so hard to imagine if your car’s interior had IKEA-inspired seats, a coffee table, a mini-bar and a wall-mounted plasma TV.

Or, what if instead of renting commercial space, you could take your business on the go?

Imagine instead of ruining the leather in your car in an attempt to bring Fido to the groomers, you could instead call up a service to swing on by your house.

And of course, even accessing the great outdoors will be less of a hassle in the future.

If you want to go rollerblading on the boardwalk, simply park your car, climb into the back, swivel the seats, lock in to your skates and you’re ready to go.

Or, what if you and the family want to go SCUBA diving?

Instead of trying to fit all of your tanks and gear into the trunk, simply extend the cab on your minivan, and load your gear with the ease of browsing through your closet.

Of course, customization doesn’t come cheap, which is perhaps the main hurdle in bringing these concept designs to the market.

However, in a country where form and function hold a significant amount of weight, perhaps it won’t be too long before our cars are just as personalized as our homes.

The future is indeed looking bright.

For photos of the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show, check out the gallery below: