TOKYO -- Japan's automakers will go futuristic and local at this year's Tokyo auto show, combining the far-out concept cars the show has been famous for alongside the Japan-only 660cc minicars -- some of which are delightfully sporty -- that represent a third of the home market.
Toyota will show a wave-styled hydrogen fuel cell sedan and a podlike minivehicle. Nissan will channel its unorthodox DeltaWing Le Mans racer into a street-legal, three-seat electric vehicle. Mitsubishi Motors Corp. will debut three aggressively styled concept hybrid vehicles.
At the local end of the offerings, Honda and Daihatsu will display sporty, convertible minicars geared to the domestic market. Honda will also unveil a new subcompact crossover that goes on sale in December in Japan.
Here's a sampling of production and concept vehicles making their global debuts during press days Nov. 20-21. After a preview night on Nov. 22, the show opens to the public Nov. 23.
The Toyota-affiliated minivehicle maker will show two variants of its convertible Kopen minicar concept, with more rounded features and a bold trapezoidal grille. Daihatsu plans production versions of both but hasn't said when they will go on sale in Japan. It also will unveil a hydrogen fuel cell minitruck called the Deca Deck. The retro-looking cube-shaped cabin sits on a slablike platform that contains a compact, low-cost fuel stack and battery system.
Honda will unveil a market-ready version of the Fit-based Urban SUV Concept shown at the Detroit show in January. It hasn't released the vehicle's name yet. After that, Honda will keep it sporty and small. That theme starts with the Honda S660 Concept, a sleek two-seater convertible with a 660cc midship engine and an iPhone-inspired interior.
Next is another Japan-market minicar, the N-WGN, a wagon variant for Honda's N Box minicar series. The Japan-only four-seater gets a longer hood and lower roof than the N Box. It is the latest entry in a minicar lineup that will expand to six spinoffs by 2015. The N-WGN goes on sale in November.
Jaguar's F-Type coupe will have dual global debuts at the overlapping auto shows in Los Angeles and Tokyo. The design of the all-aluminum car is based on the C-X16 concept shown at the 2011 Frankfurt auto show.
Lexus will unveil a near-production version of its long-awaited sports coupe, a four-seater dubbed the RC that fills a big void in the luxury brand's lineup.
The car's styling draws from the LF-CC coupe concept shown at the 2012 Paris auto show, with a gaping spindle grille and wide-set side air intakes.
It gets a rounded roof silhouette and sharply creased rear fenders. Its L-shaped rear combination lamps and headlamps were inspired by the LFA sports car that ended production last year and the LF-LC concept shown at the 2012 Detroit auto show.
The car will come with a traditional 3.5-liter gasoline powertrain or a hybrid system that uses a 2.5-liter engine. Lexus is calling the RC a production prototype. Executives declined to say when it will hit the market, but the car is expected to go on sale in the later half of next year.
Also on display will be a variant of the LF-NX crossover concept shown at the Frankfurt auto show in September. The upcoming version will be equipped with a newly developed 2.0-liter turbocharged gasoline engine, instead of the hybrid drivetrain shown in Germany.
The production version of the LF-NX, also expected next year, would be the first turbo Lexus and the first turbo for any Toyota brand since the company dabbled with the technology in the 1980s.
Mazda plays it low key this year, offering only the Mazda3 Skyactiv-CNG Concept, which can run on either compressed natural gas or regular gasoline. Vehicles running on CNG can cut emissions 20 percent compared with similar cars running on gasoline, Mazda says.
Mercedes-Benz is unveiling its first Tokyo show world premieres in eight years: two AMG variants bound for production. The first will be the S65 AMG long, a V-12 biturbo variant on the brand's flagship sedan. The second will be a special edition of what Mercedes calls a "super sports car" developed by the AMG tuning arm.
Mini will debut a third-generation hatchback.
Mitsubishi will unveil three concept vehicles with electrified drivetrains: a plug-in hybrid full-sized SUV, a plug-in hybrid compact crossover and a microhybrid van. All are envisioned with super- or turbocharged engines, some kind of electrification and a suite of active safety technologies. The engines are purely conceptual; they haven't been built yet.