The tuning scene in Japan is huge. It brings in many many millions of yen each year and it’s gotten so big and popular even the auto makers are getting in on the action. Buying a brand new car in Japan is already a different experience from buying a car anywhere else in the world, but then you will be presented with the options list. Unlike most optional extras we get in New Zealand, or indeed anywhere else in the world, the choices aren’t limited to floor mats and chrome wing mirrors. No, not in Japan.


Toyota for example have their own in-house tuning brand called Gazoo. The car you see here is a Mark X sedan. Basically, its the Altezza of today. It shares the same platform and engines as the Lexus IS. But the car in the photos is not a normal Mark X. It’s the Mark X grMN, a factory-tuned car. It’s still a Toyota, with all the ususal Toyota factory backed warranty, only it looks quite a bit mental. You can spec your Mark X, Harrier, or pretty much any Toyota car (including the Prius) to look like it’s part of the set of a Fast and Furious film. Toyota will showcase the GRMN modified Mark X sedan, Harrier SUV, and Prius V MPV at this year’s Tokyo Auto Salon. Toyota aren’t alone. Alongside them, nearly every other major Japanese brand will be displaying tuned versions of their latest models.


Honda, Suzuki, Mazda, Subaru, and Nissan have announced their lineup while Daihatsu have an entire stand dedicated to various versions of their new Copen. The Nissan and Nismo stand in particular is one I’m keen to see as there’ll be the Nismo versions of the GT-R (complete with N Attack Pack!), Juke, Note, and even a Micra!


Suzuki will show off a turbocharged concept of its newest Alto kei-car. Speaking of concepts, Honda have gone a bit mad this year with creations such as the Cyber Concept N/Box Code 89. The name is mental enough but just look at it! It’s like something out of Blade Runner. I know we’re in 2015 now but I didn’t realise it was that far into the future!


Mazda will be showing it’s entire range there, including facelifts of the Mazda6 and CX-5. Tuned versions of its cars will also be shown, including the yet-to-be-released CX-3 crossover. The centrepiece of the Mazda stand, for me anyway, will definitely be thhe race-series based MX-5 Roadster Cup car will be shown for the first time on Japanese soil.


Subaru have announced its lineup, which will include a Legacy B4 Bilstein Concept, Levorg S Concept, Forester tC, and WRX S4 PROVA. However, they’ve yet to provide a sneak peek so we’ll have to wait and see at the show. Should be exciting. Even some European brands such as BMW, Audi, and Lotus will be making an appearance at the Auto Salon too. Alfa Romeo has gone one better and have teamed up with Japanese designer Ken Okuyama to come up with a new concept car to unveil at the show.


That’s on top of the plentiful ‘unofficial’ tuner companies that will also be on display. Big names such as Wald, Liberty Walk, Carlsson, Cosworth, and Lorinser will be showing off their latest and greatest. The 2015 Tokyo Auto Salon will kick off on January 9 and I’ll be on site on the 10th to try and cover as much of this 4000+ exhibition event. Be sure to keep an eye out for the photos and article in the coming days.

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Ken Saito
Words cannot begin to describe how much I love cars but it's worth a try. Grew up obsessed with them and want to pursue a career writing about them. Anything from small city cars to the most exotic of supercars will catch my attention.


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