The Truth About Cars » charade http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 04 Dec 2014 19:13:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » charade http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Junkyard Find: 1989 Daihatsu Charade CLS http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/07/junkyard-find-1989-daihatsu-charade-cls/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/07/junkyard-find-1989-daihatsu-charade-cls/#comments Tue, 10 Jul 2012 13:00:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=451929 Has anyone seen a Daihatsu Charade on the street in the United States at any time during the current century? Strangely, I’ve now seen two of them in Denver junkyards this year. First there was this ’90 Charade SE, and now we have this ’89 Charade CLS. The Charade was available in the United States […]

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Has anyone seen a Daihatsu Charade on the street in the United States at any time during the current century? Strangely, I’ve now seen two of them in Denver junkyards this year. First there was this ’90 Charade SE, and now we have this ’89 Charade CLS.
The Charade was available in the United States for just five model years, 1988 through 1992, and the unfortunately-named Charade couldn’t compete with the likes of the Subaru Justy, Ford Festiva, and Geo Metro.
You could get the base Charade (known, cryptically, as the CES) with a one-liter three-cylinder engine making a miserable 53 horsepower. The CLS and CLX Charades came with a mighty 80-horsepower four. The tire replacing the radiator appears to be a junkyard-installed option.
Few new cars didn’t have electronic fuel injection by 1989, but Daihatsu evidently felt that EFI was still bragworthy.
Say what you will about the tenets of Daihatsu ownership, but 224,607 miles is quite an achievement for an 80s econobox.
This generation of Charade is still being built in China, where it is sold as the FAW Tianjin Xiali.

16 - 2012 Tianjin Xiali - Picture courtesy of FAW Tianjin 01 - 1989 Daihatsu Charade Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1989 Daihatsu Charade Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1989 Daihatsu Charade Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1989 Daihatsu Charade Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1989 Daihatsu Charade Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1989 Daihatsu Charade Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1989 Daihatsu Charade Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1989 Daihatsu Charade Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1989 Daihatsu Charade Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1989 Daihatsu Charade Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1989 Daihatsu Charade Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1989 Daihatsu Charade Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1989 Daihatsu Charade Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1989 Daihatsu Charade Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1989 Daihatsu Charade Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1989 Daihatsu Charade Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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Junkyard Find: 1990 Daihatsu Charade SE http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/01/junkyard-find-1991-daihatsu-charade-se/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/01/junkyard-find-1991-daihatsu-charade-se/#comments Thu, 12 Jan 2012 14:00:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=425779 Did anyone in America buy Daihatsu Charades? In at least one case, yes! In 1990, car shoppers looking for a small gas-sipping-yet-sporty Japanese car had their needs amply met by the Civic, Corolla, Sentra, Protegé, and Mirage. Hell, even the Geo Storm/Isuzu Impulse held a tiny piece of the high ground needed by Daihatsu to […]

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Did anyone in America buy Daihatsu Charades? In at least one case, yes!
In 1990, car shoppers looking for a small gas-sipping-yet-sporty Japanese car had their needs amply met by the Civic, Corolla, Sentra, Protegé, and Mirage. Hell, even the Geo Storm/Isuzu Impulse held a tiny piece of the high ground needed by Daihatsu to make a go of it with the Charade. Potential Charade buyers, perhaps too distracted by the prospect of the Mother of All Battles to find their local Daihatsu dealership, went to the competition.
But not the buyer of this ’91, who persevered and was rewarded with this lil’ red devil! This example features the not-at-all-sought-after “big-block” four-cylinder engine, which made 80 horsepower instead of the base three-banger’s 53 horses.
All in all, not one of the great moments in automotive history. Still, FAW thinks enough of the G100 Charade to build it to this day in China.
There’s a single Daihatsu Charade running in the 24 Hours of LeMons these days, thanks to Dai Hard Racing in California. It’s been heavily modified with turbocharging and who-knows-what-else and it’s quite fast (and unreliable); I don’t scrutinize the Dai Hard machine too closely when I’m doing BS inspections, because, well, it’s a Daihatsu!

DOTJ-90Charade-14 DOTJ-90Charade-01 DOTJ-90Charade-02 DOTJ-90Charade-03 DOTJ-90Charade-04 DOTJ-90Charade-05 DOTJ-90Charade-06 DOTJ-90Charade-07 DOTJ-90Charade-08 DOTJ-90Charade-09 DOTJ-90Charade-10 DOTJ-90Charade-11 DOTJ-90Charade-12 DOTJ-90Charade-13 DSC_7718 Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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Curbside Classic: 1989 Daihatsu Charade http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/03/curbside-classic-1989-daihatsu-charade/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/03/curbside-classic-1989-daihatsu-charade/#comments Mon, 22 Mar 2010 18:36:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=349939 What a difference twenty years makes. The eighties was the Japanese decade, when they were going to take over the US, if not the world. They bought prime real estate assets like Rockefeller Center and Pebble Beach. They wrote books telling the US how to fix its problems. And their car makers were swamping the […]

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What a difference twenty years makes. The eighties was the Japanese decade, when they were going to take over the US, if not the world. They bought prime real estate assets like Rockefeller Center and Pebble Beach. They wrote books telling the US how to fix its problems. And their car makers were swamping the US like a tsunami. The last of the holdouts, Daihatsu, finally showed up on our shores at a rather inauspicious time: 1988, one year before the great Japanese stock market collapse. Did Daihatsu’s failure and retreat in 1992 have to do more with Japanese hubris in trying to sell a “BMW quality” Geo Metro, or was the Charade just an overpriced charade? Or is there a difference?

Let’s just say that among other things, Daihatsu’s timing generally wasn’t so hot, and their judgment questionable. Gasoline prices had been dropping all through the eighties. Buyers were abandoning small hatches for bigger cars and SUVs, and the Geo/Chevy Metro (Suzuki Swift) pretty much had the bottom feeder market to itself, modest sized and priced as it was. But Daihatsu priced the Charade substantially above the Metro, despite its similar size and 1.0 liter 3 cylinder engine.

Daihatsu tried to create an upscale image for the Charade, making or implying references to “BMW style quality” in a small car. Well, it was the time that Toyota peaked in terms of content quality, and as Toyota’s captive mini-maker, Daihatsu probably and rightfully tagged along. American car mags generally agreed in their tests of the Charade, duly impressed in its build and material quality. Its interior alone looks more Camry than Metro. The little three pot impressed with its flat torque curve and eager-beaver demeanor, even if objective performance wasn’t significantly different from the Metro. And forget about smoothness with only three cylinders.

I have to admit to liking the styling of the Charade, and it did exude a more substantial image than the lowly Geo, probably in part to its significantly wider stance. And its handling was pretty consistently praised too; with a little more power and style, the Charade could have been the Mini of its day. Perhaps that’s what it was trying to do, but it came off way too business-like and with not near enough self-conscious style and verve. The Nissan Pao of the same vintage had plenty of that, but that cutie was a limited production only model, and never officially imported.

The Charade was built in a turbocharged version, the GTi,  with a whopping 100hp, but not for us. And a little turbo-diesel was also available in other markets. Speaking of Daihatsu’s other markets, it wasn’t just the US that they retreated from. In 2005, they pulled the plug on their Australian operations, after some forty years. And there are rumors that Chile, one of the Charade’s most popular export markets, may be next to go.

Toyota took a minority ownership stake in Daihatsu in 1967, and upped that to 51% in 1999. Daihatsu was the source for kei-cars for Toyota, allowing it to not spread its resources into that narrow segment. But there has always been an overlap with Daihatsu’s larger cars, many of them having been Toyota rebadges. That’s not the case with the Charade, but Toyota’s Tercel was clearly stepping all over it, especially in the US. It begs the question as to whether Daihatsu has a real future as a word brand, or whether it will eventually be absorbed fully into the Toyota family.

Daihatsu added a four-door sedan sometime along its brief four-year assault on the US market, and in addition to the two extra doors it also sported an extra cylinder, to/and boot. They also sold the rugged Rocky, a compact Jeepster also just a cut above the popular Suzuki Samuari. We’ll take a look at one soon. Anecdotal evidence suggests the Charade had typical Toyota reliability from that era, as there are a fair number of them still on the streets on the West Coast. Considering that only some 15k units were sold in 1989, that tends to support that supposition. Try finding a Peugeot 504 today, another victim of the US market about the same time as Daihatsu. I’ll keep looking for the 405, but it didn’t take much to stumble on these Charades.

More new Curbside Classics here

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