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Tokyo Motor Show cuts down

Due to the economic downturn Tokyo Motor Show has been cut short four days.

Just days after the cancellation of the British Motor Show, the first major international casualty of the global economic downturn, the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association has decided to shorten this year's Tokyo show in October by four days.

The decision for the 41st running of the event comes with a growing number of no-shows.

In addition to America's big three _ Chrysler, Ford and General Motors _ the list of cancellations for 2009 runs to Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, Renault, Lamborghini, Hino Motors, Isuzu, Mitsubishi Fuso (trucks and buses) and Nissan Diesel.

All have blamed the economic slump and the list is expected to grow.

Chinese and Korean carmakers will also stay away.

That is why JAMA, which earlier this year seriously considered cancelling the show altogether, has also decided to downsize the area used from the normal four halls to possibly as few as two at the giant Makuhari Messe site in Chiba prefecture, one hour east of Tokyo.

But all is not lost. According to one source close to Toyota, the world's biggest carmaker will inject extra effort into this year's show in an attempt to stimulate the market.

The Toyota source says the production version of the V10-powered Lexus LF-A supercar will be held back from its planned debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show to star in Tokyo, while the company will also reveal a car rumoured to have been put on hold _ the Toyota-Subaru joint-venture rear-wheel drive sedan that employs an Impreza platform and drivetrain.

Toyota will also display a full range of hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles as well as the latest EV and battery technology.

Originally scheduled to run from October 23 to November 8, the show's new closing date will be November 4.