Will Toyota And Suzuki Create A Mini Vehicle Giant?

Osamu Suzuki - Picture courtesy Forbes

Today, rumors that Toyota Motor Corp. might be planning a tie-up with Suzuki rattled the relative tranquility of Tokyo’s auto scene. Suzuki, and Toyota through its Daihatsu subsidiary, are the leading players in Japan’s idiosyncratic “kei car,” or mini vehicle market. So why should you care whether one maker of alleged cars powered by a pint-sized 0.6 liter engine covets another?

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Japanese car sales, June 2014: The crash that wasn’t

kopen - picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt
Japanese automakers are wiping sweat off their foreheads. Not just because summer is back with a vengeance. Japan’s auto sales in June were up a tiny bit, much to the surprise of everybody.

Summer brought an even bigger surprise.

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2014 Tokyo Auto Salon: Here come the krazy kei kars

Let's hustle

Let’s hustle

The antidote of the jacked-up trucks at SEMA are the krazy kustom keis at the Tokyo Auto Salon. The 0.6 liter bonsai cars, born out of a post-war necessity, are having a huge revival in Japan. Formerly a favorite of farmers, kei cars are now the choice of inner city hipsters – if they drive a car at all. This is a quick tour of the keis of the Tokyo Auto Salon.

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Repent, the end of the kei car is near

Honda's Nbox at Honda's Tokyo HQ

Honda’s Nbox at Honda’s Tokyo HQ

The kei car, a Japanese vehicular oddity, and a big part of its car culture, could be reaching its apogee.  If a Japanese government advisory panel gets its will, the mini vehicle will lose most, if not all of its unique tax advantage. [Continue Reading]