What if one of the world's preeminent auto nations threw a party and nobody came? That's the question on everyone's minds today as the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA) has announced that most of the world's major automakers have decided to sit out this fall's show.
We already knew about the Detroit 3 taking a pass, but now, word from Automotive News is that Audi, BMW, Jaguar, Land Rover, Mercedes, Renault, Volkswagen and Volvo will apparently be skipping out as well. In a news conference that JAMA chairman Satoshi Aoki called a "once-in-a-hundred-years crisis," the organization confirmed to media members that just 122 exhibitors will hawk their wares – nearly half of 2007's total of 241. The departure of those manufacturers represents a loss estimated to be in the tens of millions of dollars for JAMA and the local economy (if not more), as costs associated with mounting a single show stand often reaches into seven-figures.

Of those 241 parties that still remain, Japan's eight primary automakers have signed on (Daihatsu, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, Suzuki and Toyota), and Hyundai will join as well. On the high-end front, only Alpina, Lotus, Ferrari, Maserati, and Porsche have committed.

Rumors swirled as recently as in January that the show might be canceled altogether, but organizers have evidently decided that a scaled-down show is better than no show at all. Other outlets are reporting that JAMA will reduce the event's Makuhari Messe footprint from four show halls to two. Additionally, public days are reportedly shortening up as well, with the original run of October 23 to November 8 being cut down – the show will now close November 4.

[Source: Automotive News, subs. req]

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