When I was in my Granada Hills High School auto shop class, most of the automotive education and training films were produced by the Detroit “Big Three” car companies. So naturally in my teenage years I was impressed with the history and significance of Detroit, and looked forward to one day visiting the “Motor City.” Perhaps, I thought, one day I might even live there – though that thought was quickly dismissed as I thought about my coastal and beach-side upbringing and the far-fetched idea of departing from my southern California roots.

Yet once I entered my automotive career, even though I had a fascination with seeing Detroit – which I would later end up doing on a series of business trips while still a Californian – a new intrigue inevitably developed for seeing other parts of the automotive world, too. And while I had already been to European automotive cities, going to Tokyo brought a whole new level of “global” automotive intrigue to the auto journey. Visiting the auto show in Tokyo is both a “technical” showcase – but also a culturally eye-opening experience.

The Tokyo show is typically quite exciting – and is often one of the best auto shows to exhibit what the future horizon of promising small, fuel-efficient and environmentally advanced cars are presented. While automotive history shows the 20th century had fun moments with big cars, the reality of the 21st century says the new fun will be in smaller, safer, more environmentally sound mini-cars – with alternative power plants and sources of energy. When the mass-produced solar-powered car is produced, it will certainly debut at one of the world’s auto shows, in such cities as Detroit, Frankfurt or Tokyo.

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