State of the Future: The Tokyo Motor Show

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The 40th Tokyo Motor Show is taking place in Chiba City and will open to the public from October 27th onwards. The show gives an insight into the state of the Japanese car industry, and which direction it is going. takes a look at what it has to offer.

First, technology and plenty of it. We are talking gadgets and concepts galore, much of it geared towards the Green Car -- a car made environmentally friendly through an array of plug-in hybrids, electrics, clean diesels and more.

An embodiment of this is the Nissan Pivo 2 concept car. It's a whacky bubble-top electric city car concept with a 360 degree rotating cabin and 90 degree turning wheels. It has a much improved motor plus a longer lasting lithium-ion battery pack. And there's more. It also comes with its own small talking cockpit robot, to "advise" you on what’s around, where to park, etc.

Personally, I find 'R2D2' with its rotating head a little creepy. But hey, if I was driving around an unfamiliar city, I might be glad to have the company.

It is hoped that the buzz generated at the show by concepts like the Pivo 2 will get people buying cars again. The Japanese auto market is in dire straits. Vehicle sales have been flat or falling now for 18 months straight.

Many people across Asia, especially young Japanese, have lost interest in cars for a whole variety of reasons. In Japan, an excellent public transportation system has dampened the need for private transport. There are also now an array of many other kinds of consumer goods and services like home computers, cellphones and trips abroad for young people to purchase instead of cars.

Nissan Motor on Friday posted a surprise 12 percent gain in quarterly operating profit as a pickup in its global car sales overcame rising commodity prices. Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn has flagged a firm profit recovery in the latter half of the year, supported by new models such as the Rogue crossover car-cum-SUV, but analysts have said Nissan may fall short of its full-year targets, partly due to the yen's recent resilience against the dollar.

Nissan unveiled a new incarnation of its iconic GT-R sports car at the motor show, hoping to catapult its brand image and increase showroom traffic to sell other, mainstay products.

Nissan and automakers like Audi are looking for ways to attract the youth market. And Audi hopes that by marrying gadgetry and cruising, young people will be lured back into the driver's seat. Norbert Weber, Audi's chief interior designer gives CNBC a peronalized tour of Audi's Megaporte Quattro concept car -- which is also a hybrid car -- designed to capture the youth market. He tells us about the special touches including a mobile device that's built into the car.

Last but not least, automakers are looking to Asia for growth. In particular, the 'BRIC' (Brazil, Russia, India and China) countries especially China and India, where the number of ultra high net worth individuals is rapidly increasing. In China, that number is growing by 20 percent per annum in comparison to the global rate of 10 percent.

In short, there are many many very rich Chinese willing to spend on quality, high-end cars such as the Rolls Royce Phantom.

Ian Robertson, Chairman and chief executive of Rolls Royce Motor explains the company's Asia strategy from the seat of the iconic and ultra luxurious Phantom.