TOKYO - The 1999 Tokyo Motor Show is going to be the year of the "hybrid" - combination gasoline or diesel, and electric-powered cars.

In addition, most manufacturers will showcase prototype fuel-cell vehicles along with their latest direct-injection engines and ITS, or intelligent transport system technologies.

The 33rd running of the show, which dates back to 1954, will open its doors to the public on Oct. 22; it will run for 13 days through Nov. 3. All together, 53 carmakers and 234 suppliers are scheduled to participate.

Unlike previous shows, no trucks will be displayed. Show organizers plan to hold a separate truck show next autumn, then rotate between cars and trucks on alternative years. Mitsubishi Motors Corp. research executive Hiromitsu Ando says, "Hybrids will be the main feature of the show, but unlike previous shows, this time manufacturers are nearing production stage."

Among the hybrids to be displayed are:

n Honda Motor Co. Ltd.'s Insight, scheduled to hit dealer showrooms in November and featuring a motor-assist system designed to give the car's 1L-VTEC engine a power boost during acceleration. The car goes on sale in the U.S. this fall.

n Mitsubishi's Small Utility Wagon (SUW), unveiled at last month's Frankfurt Motor Show and featuring a 1.5L GDI (gasoline direct injection) engine and integrated motor generator attached to the car's continuously variable transmission.

n Nissan Motor Co. Ltd.'s Tino wagon, scheduled for introduction early next year and featuring a lithium-ion battery pack with a lithium manganese cathode positive electrode, reportedly an industry first.

n Toyota Motor Corp.'s left-hand-drive Prius, displayed at the Frankfurt show. The car already is selling in Japan and is due out in North America and Europe next year.

In the direct injection (DI) engine field, Honda will display a prototype DI diesel engine featuring a "common rail" system supplied by European auto partsmaker Robert Bosch AG. Developed for the European market, the 1.6L engine is designed with an aluminum block. It is expected to be introduced in two to three years.

Mitsubishi also will show off a DI diesel version of its remodeled Pajero sport/utility vehicle (SUV). The model, which went on sale this September, is powered by a 3.2L DI diesel engine. Mitsubishi claims the engine enables the Pajero to clear Japanese fuel-consumption standards for diesel vehicles in 2005. It outperforms its predecessor by 25%. A 3.5L GDI version of the model clears 2010 fuel consumption requirements for gasoline vehicles and complies with 2000 emission regulations.

Nissan, meanwhile, unveiled a sporty concept coupe, the Cypact, in Frankfurt that featured a DI turbodiesel that achieves 100 km (235 miles) on 3L of fuel, or 71 mpg. Fuel-cell vehicles will be positioned much the same way hybrids were at the previous two Tokyo shows: as advanced engineering vehicles.

Says Peter Boardman, Tokyo analyst for Warburg Dillon Reed Securities: "For new technology, most manufacturers will present fuel-cell vehicles. But these won't become affordable for 10 to 15 years."

Toyota, Honda and Nissan all are expected to have a fuel-cell vehicle on display. Toyota, which presented the hydrogen-powered FCEV at the 1997 show, currently is testing two models - one powered by hydrogen and the other by methanol. The automaker has announced plans to commercialize a fuel-cell vehicle in 2003. The FCEV is based on the RAV4L SUV.

Honda, like Toyota, plans to commercialize a fuel-cell vehicle in 2003. The company currently is testing two prototypes, one powered by hydrogen and the other by methanol. Both are equipped with Ballard Power Systems' fuel cells.

Nissan began running tests of a fuel-cell vehicle equipped with a methanol reformer in March. Like Honda's prototypes, the model, which is based on the R'nessa SUV, employs a Ballard fuel cell. Nissan, which presented the vehicle's concept at the 1997 Tokyo show, says it plans to commercialize the model in 2003 or 2004, though only for limited use for fleet-testing purposes by electric power companies and research institutes.

Mazda Motor Corp.'s hydrogen-powered Demio FCEV, introduced in 1997, is expected to reappear at this year's show. However, since spring of last year, Mazda has joined its activities to those of DaimlerChrysler AG, Ford Motor Co. and Ballard, which in April 1998 formed a strategic partnership to develop fuel cells and electric-drive systems.

In addition to the high-tech vehicles, Japanese automakers will introduce a host of familiar brands with new ideas. Nissan is expected to feature a rear-drive midsize Infiniti, plus a new Z-car concept that comes closer to the planned production model.

Toyota's luxury division will offer a new Lexus concept car. Mazda will present an all-new RX-7 concept car, plus a rear-drive sports sedan with a rotary engine. Additionally, Mazda will show its companion model of the '01 Ford Escape small SUV. Honda's Acura Div. will unveil several new luxury models, including a new rear-drive V-8 sports sedan built on the S2000 roadster platform. o