In a defining pivot for the Japanese automotive industry, the 2023 Japan Mobility Show has reemerged after 4 years, rebranded, mirroring the sector’s progression towards a new era of mobility, and cutting-edge developments. CARMA’s analysis delves into the most mentioned brands and their leading narratives that appeared across traditional media outlets, spotlighting how official equipment manufacturers are shaping the future of global mobility.
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Japan’s Premier Auto Event Rebrands to Reflect New Mobility Era
Japan’s top auto trade show, absent since 2019 due to COVID-19, has been reimagined as the Japan Mobility Show, reflecting the industry’s shift towards innovative mobility solutions. Showcasing a record-breaking array of participants, the event spotlights on cutting-edge technologies such as autonomous driving and electrification.
Media accounts reported on Japan’s redefined automotive narrative driven by fresh commitments towards sustainability and innovation projects. The Japan Times detailed the significant overhaul of the show to reflect new industry standards and market trends, evidenced by an increased number of participants and a wider variety of exhibits. Bloomberg’s coverage particularly noted the Japanese manufacturers’ efforts to change their image of being slow adopters of electric vehicles. This is set against the backdrop of BYD’s aggressive market expansion, highlighting a competitive dynamic in the industry.
Further supporting this sentiment, Nissan’s CEO Makoto Uchida stated during the event: “The electric vehicle market is moving faster than expected prompted by a raft of value-priced Chinese entrants. It’s provided a wake-up call and Nissan has had to rewrite its original EV strategy written in 2021, which had predicted a slower take-up. We’re looking at affordable pricing for EVs across the world.”
These narratives served as a PR boost, highlighting Japan’s proactive strides in technology and market responsiveness, especially in electrification.
Most Mentioned Brands and their Leading Headlines:
Coverage from leading news outlets examined the strategic unveilings at the 2032 Japan Mobility Show, illustrating how automakers are shaping their narrative in the electric vehicle market. Key highlights included:
Toyota: Balancing Prudence with Innovation in the EV Arena
Securing a 27% share of voice (SOV), Toyota’s narrative is one of a calculated yet forward-thinking shift into the electric vehicle market. Jiji Press News highlighted Toyota’s collaboration with the Japanese government, positioning it as a driver of industrial strategy and economic security, with a united front in Japan’s approach to EVs. Reuters took a different angle and emphasised Toyota’s technological breakthrough with its upcoming Lexus model boasting a 1,000 km range. CNBC provided a critical viewpoint, reflecting on the company’s chairman’s scepticism amidst a slowing EV sales trend, and indicating a prudent strategy that may appeal to cautious investors and consumers.
Toyota’s CEO Koji Sato dedicated his stage time to the exclusive discourse on electric vehicles (EVs) at the Japan Mobility Show, steering clear of previously contested perspectives on hybrid and hydrogen tech as pathways to carbon neutrality. Bloomberg featured Sato stating: “Our vehicles transcend mere eco-friendliness—they encapsulate the joy of driving and promise a spectrum of experiences tailored to the individualistic demands of our clientele.”
Honda: Reviving Heritage to Drive Hybrid Innovation
With a 15% SOV, Honda’s reintroduction of the Prelude model as a hybrid vehicle captured the media spotlight, combining nostalgia with innovation. The Telegraph touched on the company’s broader tech initiatives, including AI and autonomous vehicles, positioning Honda as not only a car manufacturer but as a provider of comprehensive mobility solutions. Automotive outlets such as Top Speed focused more on the hybrid Prelude’s connection to its historical roots, appealing to car enthusiasts with a passion for the brand’s heritage and modern advancements in vehicle electrification.
During the event Honda CEO Toshihiro Mibe made a poignant connection as referenced by Auto Blog, stating: “The word ‘prelude’ means an ‘introductory or preceding performance. This model will become the prelude for our future models, which will inherit the joy of driving into the full-fledged electrified future and embody Honda’s unalterable sports mindset.”
Nissan: Embracing the Future with Electrification and Performance
Nissan commands a 14% SOV with two distinct narratives. The coverage around the Hyper Force concept, as featured by Newsweek, positioned Nissan at the forefront of electric high-performance vehicles with advanced technology such as solid-state batteries and augmented reality features. Meanwhile, the newly released Nissan Patrol, with its twin-turbo V6 engine and a host of upgrades, as featured by Car Expert, was consistently positioned as a formidable competitor to established luxury off-roaders like the Toyota Land Cruiser.
Further supporting the brand’s forefront of electric high-performance vehicles, CEO Makoto Uchida was quoted by The Telegraph stating: “Nissan’s Hyper Force concept were symbols of the future and embody the brand’s founding spirit of daring to do what others don’t.” The Telegraph also highlights the CEO’s acknowledgment of price skirmishes intensifying and the resale value of EVs faltering, in which Uchida disclosed: “We’re looking at affordable pricing for EVs across the world. This is one of the key things going forward.”
Mazda & Lexus: Merging Classic Sensibilities with Future-Forward Technology
Holding a 10% share of voice, Lexus’ unveiling of the LF-ZC and LF-ZL concepts marked its ambitious journey towards an all-electric future, while Mazda, with an 8% SOV, showcased the Mazda Iconic SP. Bloomberg’s coverage positioned Mazda as a trendsetter in sustainability and a frontrunner in redefining the sports car segment, particularly through their Mazda Iconic SP. The coverage detailed the vehicle’s two-rotor rotary EV system and emphasized Mazda’s commitment to carbon neutrality. Focusing on Lexus, Top Gear underscored the brand’s commitment to boundary-pushing technology and luxury within the electrified space, reflecting the broader luxury automotive market’s drive toward meeting the increasing consumer demand for vehicles that are both opulent and environmentally conscious.
The 2023 Japan Mobility Show has marked a transformative chapter for the automotive industry, underscoring heritage and forward-looking innovation. Key players such as Toyota and Nissan are revising their strategies in response to a dynamic market, while brands like Mazda and Lexus integrate their legacy with cutting-edge technology. The event’s portrayal in the media highlights a sharpened focus on sustainability and the evolving demands of mobility. It’s a testament to the industry’s resilience and its embrace of a future where technological advances and environmental considerations steer progress.
A Note on Methodology:
CARMA’s analysis leveraged 20,478 articles published between October 26 and November 5, 2023. This study relies on the use of CARMA’s technology and third-party data, which are collected through automated means.