Tokyo Hosts Commercial Truck Show

AFTER 33 years of automobile shows, the Japan Motor Industrial Federation turned its attention to commercial trucks at the 34th Tokyo Motor Show October 31-November 4.

The show's 261 exhibits represented 129 companies, seven nations, and included two national governments. The event attracted 177,900 visitors, according to show organizers. The exhibits occupied 24,782 square meters (266,750 square feet).

"This year's Tokyo Motor Show turned out to be a great success as our first commercial vehicle show," said Hiroshi Okuda, chairman of the Japan Motor Industrial Federation. "Exhibitors displayed a wide variety of state-of-the-art products and technologies related to environmental protection, information technology, and safety. Our show provided visitors with an opportunity to deepen their understanding of the commercial vehicles that support industrial activities and people's lives."

Japanese truck manufacturers dominated the show. Some market trucks in the U S market, but they showed many trucks not seen in the U S. Other manufacturers are familiar to Americans but do not offer commercial trucks here. They include Daihatsu, Honda, Mazda, Subaru, and Suzuki.

The chassis manufacturers displayed a wide range of vehicles, but several placed particular emphasis on transporting the handicapped, safety concerns, and environmental issues. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government, for example, is planning to ban diesel trucks that are not equipped with filters.

In response to the prospect of tighter emission regulations, several truck manufacturers demonstrated low-emissions vehicles. Mitsubishi, for example, displayed a wide range of low-emissions technology, including an engine with the new MIQCS combustion system, a continuously regenerating diesel particulate filter, a NOx catalyst that adds a urea water solution to the exhaust gas to reduce emissions, and its hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) that uses a gas engine to power an electric motor.

Toyota also showed its hybrid system. Hino displayed low-emission engine technology, as did Nissan Diesel. Part of the Isuzu display was a diesel particulate filter - a ceramic filter designed to catch the particulate in diesel smoke and then incinerate the particles with a contact heater.

Advanced safety technology also was on display. Mitsubishi, for example, revealed its driver attention-monitoring system that uses driving monotony, low steering variation, and car weaving to determine when to sound audible and aromatic warnings. Other Mitsubishi safety programs under development that the company displayed included an active stability control system that regulates individual wheel braking when the vehicle is cornering; a system that links steering and headlight direction to improve night driving; vehicle distance radar; and an automatic convoy system that enables one vehicle to follow behind another.

Despite the success of the show's venture into the commercial vehicle market, the format will refocus on automobiles in the fall (October 26-November 7) when the federation returns to Makuhari Messe (Nippon Convention Center) for the 35th Tokyo Motor Show. For additional information regarding the event, contact Japan Motor Industrial Federation at 81-3-211-8875 (phone) or 81-3-3211-5798 (fax).

Here are some of the highlights from the show:

Electronic brake system (EBS) has been added to this 13-meter van trailer manufactured by Nippon Fruehauf. The system, developed by MeritorWABCO, provides improved brake performance, according to Nippon Fruehauf. The company is based in Atsugi, Kanagawa, where it operates a 30-acre plant. In addition, Nippon Fruehauf has manufacturing facilities in eight other cities in Japan.

Gull-wing van is an example of the trailers produced by Yusoki, Handa-shi, Aichi-ken. The company, founded in 1917, produces dry-freight and refrigerated vans, along with heavy-hauler trailers. The trailer division, however, is but one facet of this transportation equipment manufacturer. The company also manufactures chassis for transporting large cranes; components such as disc wheels, fuel tanks, and tire chains; parts for rail cars; and floor beams for the Boeing 777. Phone 0563-21-3311 or fax 0569-22-0471.

Refrigerated gull-wing van body is designed to hold its cargo at -25 C (-13 F). The patented floor uses a traditional corrugated duct design, but with insulating inserts made of a proprietary material. Logistic track also has a patented design. The track includes a set of holes that provides easy cleaning of the track while also enhancing air circulation. A new under-mounted Mitsubishi TU 73DZ refrigeration unit keeps the trailer cold.

Key to the truck body's thermal properties is its aluminum sandwich construction. Between the inner and outer skins is a vacuum pouch encased in polyurethane foam. The pouch is made of reflective plastic that provides an additional thermal barrier. The van is a product of Yano Special Vehicle Manufacturing Company Ltd, Kaminofu Shingumachi Kasuya-gun, Fukoaka. Phone 092-963-2000 or fax 092-963-1555.

Advanced Safety Vehicle, the Super Dolphin Profia ASVL, gives Hino Motors a means of displaying some of its latest technologies. The vehicle is equipped with a wide range of warning and control systems that perform functions such as warning when the driver is drowsy, one designed to keep the vehicle from leaving its lane, another that detects obstacles on the side of the vehicle, a distance warning system, adaptive cruise control, and front underride protection.

Space Ranger gull wing body opens hydraulically. Mounted on a Hino chassis, the body is a product of Hino Body Company of Yokohama. The company also displayed a refrigerated van built with a smooth aluminum floor. A smooth floor normally would reduce air circulation beneath the cargo. However, plastic grates placed on the floor allow air to flow. The grates are removable for easy cleaning.

Detachable body system is one of the many commercial truck bodies and trailers manufactured by Kyokuto Kaihatsu Kogyo Company. The "Grandecker" hook lift has 12 to 13 tipping angle, compared with a typical 27 angle for other models. Maximum body length that the hoist can accommodate is six meters (20 feet). It is mounted on a Mitsubishi Fighter chassis.

The company also displayed its new CG 1000 (1,000-kg or 2,204-lb capacity) liftgate. The CG 1000 joins a 4,000-kg (8,818-lb) capacity model introduced a year ago.

Among the other products Kyokuto Kaihatsu Kogyo produces are refuse packers, concrete mixers, pneumatic bulk carriers, water trucks, dumps, and car carriers. The company, with headquarters in Ohta-ku, Tokyo, operates five plants throughout Japan.

Additional hinge in Fuji Body van enables the sides to open in a more confined area. Although gull-wing vans are a common design in Japan, most hinge only along the center of the roof. By adding the second pivot point midway up the side panel, the body can be opened in tighter areas, a key advantage when making deliveries in narrow, crowded streets. Another change is the rear door - a combination of hinged panel and roll-up design. Fuji Body Conversion Vehicles, an affiliate of Toyota, can be reached at 0949-52-1525 or by fax at 0949-52-1671.

Hinged sidewalls enable this bookmobile to provide easy access to bookshelves - inside and out. Its Wako wheelchair lift offers handicapped customers access to the inside shelves. The bookmobile is mounted on an Isuzu ELF chassis.

Mazda, noted in the US for its passenger cars in the United States, also produces commercial trucks in Japan. Two-ton dump truck shown here has drop sides in addition to tailgate. Also displayed was a prototype Mazda rear-loader refuse packer powered by LPG. The Titan LPG refuse truck included a special deodorizing system that drips a solution onto the waste to reduce the smell. According to Mazda, "In addition to improving working conditions for sanitation workers, this innovation will preserve the pleasant environment along residential routes during garbage collection."

Dual-purpose refuse packer has twin compartments - one for yard waste and one for refuse. Each has a capacity of two cubic meters (2.62 cubic yards). It is a product of ShinMaywa Industries Ltd, Tsurumi-ku, Yokohama. The company also manufactures dump bodies, concrete mixers, detachable container systems, fuel and water tankers, and sewer cleaners. Phone 81-45-584-1321 or fax 81-45-584-1320.

"Small Cars for a Big Future" was the theme of the Suzuki Motor Corporation exhibit, but the company also showed what its small trucks can do. Among the commercial truck bodies mounted on the company's Carry chassis were a catering body, platform body, floral delivery van with sliding side doors, three-way dump body, and contractor body with scissors lift. Since Suzuki introduced the Carry minitruck in 1961, the company has sold more than 3,320,000 in Japan. The company claims that the Carry has been the best-selling truck of its type in Japan for 29 consecutive years. The current version has a three-piece frame, electronically fuel-injected engine, and five-speed manual transmission. It is offered in two-wheel and four-wheel drive. The four-wheel-drive can be shifted on the fly. Also available is a subtransmission that can be shifted between high and low speeds to suit road conditions.

Daihatsu promoted the versatility of its Hijet light-duty truck. Despite having a gross vehicle weight rating under 1,800 kg (3,968 pounds), a wide variety of commercial truck bodies are available for it, including fire truck, fuel-oil delivery truck, utility truck with aerial platform, and even an all-terrain tracked vehicle.

The chassis is powered by 1.3-liter engine. However, the company also promoted its hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles powered by compressed natural gas.

Daihatsu offers a van and pickup off the same platform. The van comes with a 635-kg (1,400-pound) payload rating, while the payload rating for the pickup is 760 kg (1,675 pounds).

Also on display was Daihatsu' s Naked SS pickup. No word on a pickup box removal program that would make the truck even more naked.

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