The Detroit 3 automakers have pulled out of this year’s Tokyo auto show to cut costs.
Ford Motor Co. on Wednesday confirmed Japanese media reports that Ford would not be participating this year.
"At this time, participating in the show just isn’t a strategic priority," spokeswoman Jennifer Flake said. "Given everything else we have to balance in that region and in that market, that’s not where we’ve chosen to prioritize our time and our resources."
Flake said she could not give information about the status of Mazda or Volvo in the show.
Exhibiting in the show, which is held every two years, cost General Motors $2 million in 2007. That’s money better spent elsewhere, said Rick Brown, president of GM Asia Pacific.
“We won’t be participating,” Brown told Automotive News. “If you really look at the business conditions that we are in right now, where we really have to make a bang out of every buck we spend, it’s simply a business decision.”
Chrysler made the same decision.
"Chrysler decided, under the current challenges and market situation the company faces, to pull out of TMS in 2009 in order to secure limited resources invested efficiently on activities necessary to sustain our business," Kaori Beppu, spokesperson for Chrysler Japan, said in a written statement.
"We regret that we will be losing a great opportunity to appeal the company's presence at one of the international auto shows, but Chrysler will continue to offer Japanese consumers the very attractive product portfolio as well as the quality services."
The Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association is debating whether to cancel the event.
Brown said the Tokyo auto show can be a good forum to promote the GM brand. But the money is better channeled into other local marketing efforts, he said.
GM’s decision to stay home is sure to raise eyebrows among the company’s detractors in Japan, Brown said. But any bruising to the company’s image will be short-lived, he said.
“If you’re going to the Tokyo motor show to raise the corporate flag or just do it for corporate presence, I think those days are gone,” Brown said. “It’s not a good business decision.”
The 41st annual Tokyo auto show is scheduled for Oct. 23-Nov. 8. Press days are to be Oct. 21 and 22. The theme is "Fun driving for us, eco driving for earth."
Discussion about canceling the show is driven in part by the decision of some non-Japanese automakers to shun the October venue amid the global financial crisis. But some Japanese exhibitors also are proposing that this year's event be canceled.
The show’s steering committee will decide by early next month whether to postpone the show, said Toshihiro Iwatake, JAMA's executive director.
A number of non-American companies dropped out of this month’s Detroit auto show, including Nissan Motor Co., Suzuki Motor Corp., Porsche AG, Rolls-Royce and Land Rover. Mitsubishi Motors Corp. canceled its corporate presence, but local Mitsubishi dealers put together an exhibit.
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