Top Gear called it the “Sony Ferrari.” Daihatsu calls it quits. Toyota’s mini car division Daihatsu will stop production of the only convertible minicar on the Japanese market, the Copen.
Daihatsu told The Nikkei [sub] that it will stop making the roadster in August. Honda and Suzuki had given up selling topless kei cars years ago.
The diminutive Copen debuted in June 2002. As a true Kei car, it was fitted with a 0.66 liter enginelet. Turbocharged, the motor with the displacement of a beer glass produced 64 hp. In export markets that did not have the regulatory advantage of a JDM kei, a 1.3 liter engine was fitted, for a gain of 23 more horses.
What the Copen lacked in horsepower, it made up with a trick metal roof that folded away into the trunk at the push of a button – if nothing was in the trunk.
Last year, Daihatsu pulled the car from the European market. By the end of this year, Daihatsu will pack up and leave the Continent completely.
At home in Japan, only some 2,000 Copen found a buyer last year, bringing the total to a mere 56,000 or so.
Daihatsu will celebrate the end of the open air era with a 10th-anniversary version of the Copen. Trying to sell 500 of the special-edition kawai kei, Daihatsu will fit it with commemorative plates, leather seats and other trimmings.
The love of the Japanese for the kei car however is unbroken. Last year, more than one million mini cars were sold in Japan, for a market share of 27 percent.