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Toyota PM concept

The Toyota PM is the type of concept car that distinguishes the Tokyo Motor Show from the other international motor shows.

PM is a small pod on wheels that seats just one person. The user touches one of its headlights that stick out on the end of stalks, which then glows green to signal the opening of its glass canopy. As the canopy opens PM’s seat slides down, forward and out and the user can get in, and the whole process is reversed. Once in this diminutive vehicle, it can be maneuvered very easily as the wheels turn through 180 degrees thanks to the wheel’s pivot being mounted above it like a caster. As the car gains speed it lowers and lengthens from 1750 to 2650mm as its rear hinges aft in a similar manner to the Renault Zoom concept car from the early 1990s.

The aesthetic design of this car plays second fiddle to its conceptual design and the impressive engineering that meant that all of the car’s functions described above were being demonstrated by the two PM show cars. Most impressive, and very Tokyo Motor Show.

  Read our full Design Review...

Honda HSC concept

Proportionally innovative with a very long wheelbase for its overall length, the HSC’s exterior design is also notable for it’s prominent use of concave surfaces that visually lighten its form. As the bonnet surface meets the front wing there is a concave surface that bleeds into the A-pillar, a theme repeated similarly at the rear of the car. More noticeably is the way the upper wing surface flips gently from convex to concave as it flows rearward and down into the door, before flipping back to convex as it rounds the rear wheel arch.

Talking to exterior designer Toshinobu Minami and interior designer Makoto Yamashita about the HSC it was hard to glean anything about what might be carried through to the production NSX replacement due soon, but lets hope its most of the HSC, with the possible exception of the fussy rear lamp graphics.

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Nissan Jikoo concept

A surprise preview, and driven onto the Nissan stage by CEO Carl Ghosn, the Jikoo was created to celebrate the Nissan's (nee Datsun) 70th anniversary, with inspiration from the Datsun Roadster of 1935. Like the Toyota PM, the Jikoo is Tokyo Motor Show archetype, but in a completely different way.

Jikoo features an extensive list of literal classical design references, such as a prominent stand up hood mascot, Art Deco inspired door inners, horn and tortoiseshell steering wheel veneer and hammered metal bumpers. These mix with modern elements such as LED rear lights, blue tinted windows (and grille graphic!) and extensive use of Visual Display Units inside to give a very unusual, if rather awkwardly contrived, result, not helped by its decorative wheel designs. Not the usual, impressive Nissan stuff we’ve become used to of late.

Mitsubishi Se-ro concept

At the Frankfurt Motor Show Mitsubishi presented the ‘I’, a K-class sized, mid-engine monospace micro MPV. At Tokyo it is using the same platform to show another possible variant on this new proportion and type of car.

Visually dominated by its bare aluminum body, the Se-ro was also striking for its unique form. Whilst strikingly modern, the exterior also has echoes of old aircraft cockpits, 1950s American cars and or the Messerschmitt bubble cars with its reverse A-pillar, wrap around windscreen, protruding roof mounted lights and tall narrow body. The bumpers are novel, being vertically orientated, and the interior approximates in ethos to a smaller version of the Volkswagen Microbus.

This car looks like it could be the first micro MPV that is truly cool without being compromised on space.

  Read our full design review...

Lexus LF-S concept

With this second concept in a year, Lexus continues to show a more fluid and emotive design direction for the young Japanese brand that significantly will be launched in Japan next year.

LF-S has a subtle development of the Lexus corporate face and is an ambassador for the Lexus design philosophy called ‘L-finesse’. The most interesting aspect to the car’s design (only the exterior was shown) is the concave upper wing section that runs into the shoulder and all the way through to the rear wing into the rear lamp. The DLO partially bisects this, so the concave surface runs most into the ‘mirrors’ (cameras) and into the C-pillar. This feature helps visually lengthen the car and emphasis its long and low proportions.

Mazda Ibuki concept

The Mazda Ibuki is a two seat sports car concept with a clean and simple exterior defined by two feature lines. One that describes the main body side in profile curving up around the front wheel arch, running straight back to curve down around the rear arch. The other encloses the cabin area in plan and runs in a closed loop around the engine and boot area also.

The other strong design aspect of the car is the shape of its front and rear lamps that reinterprets the original 1989 Mazda MX5/Miata side light graphic, and this graphic motif is repeated throughout its design, particularly in the interior. A simple, but very impressive design.

  Read our full design review...

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Copyright © 2003 Car Design News, Inc.
Last updated: Thu, Jan 29, 2004