I recently attended the Tokyo Auto Salon (TAS) 2020 in Japan, an annual automotive event focusing on aftermarket products, vehicle customisation, and automotive lifestyle.
What intrigues me is the impact this event has generated since its inception in 1983, with various aftermarket brands, parts and components companies and even OEMs, participating in TAS 2020, showcasing products, new vehicle launches and creatively tuned and modified vehicles to eventgoers.
Looking beyond the sound and lights of the entertaining displays at the show, were the tremendous job and business opportunities within the aftermarket sector. Apart from customer relations and business development, a plethora of skill-based professions are aplenty in the scene.
The tuner and aftermarket scenes have already established its grounds in Malaysia, with many privately driven initiatives already.
It is therefore vital to tap and develop this field and begin recognising the talents, dedication and skills of the aftermarket’s local workforce. More should be created nationwide to appreciate the artistic and technical capabilities of customising and tuning a vehicle – it is definitely not an easy feat to accomplish.
It is vital for the government and its agencies to synergise with established aftermarket businesses and individuals to design and structure business enhancement and human capital development programmes catered for individuals who have an undying passion in the aftermarket sector.
This initiative will promote Malaysia’s standing as an ASEAN automotive leader to a global status – that’s how much depth there is to the aftermarket scene alone.
When I was walking around the exhibits in TAS 2020, I noticed a variety of sophisticated models that were on display, but a few models caught my attention. They were built by a group of students from the Nihon Automobile College (NATS).
One of it is a Hitachi golf car that was converted to a mini electric fire truck meant to entertain and educate younger generations on the importance of fire safety, simultaneously acting as an inspiration for younger generations to acknowledge the initiatives run by the fire department of Japan.
Although it is not a working fire truck, the idea behind the creation of the mini electric fire truck really impressed me, more by the fact that it was executed by college students.
Even OEMs took the opportunity to showcase their race divisions and latest technological developments in their R&D. Updated liveries, race schedules, and new sport variants of their current models were some of the topics highlighted to TAS 2020 eventgoers.
I have noticed a vast amount of opportunities through TAS serving as a benchmark for us Malaysians, to create a strong pool of creative talent and new business opportunities in our own region, by bringing more aftermarket-based concepts to Malaysia.
The writer is the chief executive officer of Malaysia Automotive, Robotics and IoT Institute.