There was the Cadillac of minivans. A different kind of company selling a different kind of car. A Swede with no compromises, and a Frenchman that went from strength to strength.
Daihatsus that were perhaps, a bit too modest, by skinny dipping their unknown name in a slogan-less lake. And then we had that crazy distant Yugoslavian cousin who bragged about a ‘road back to sanity’ while his neighbors blew up his plant.
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. (Read More…)
Since the Tokyo Auto Show and some Scion scuttlebutt have us on something of a Daihatsu theme here, I thought I’d show a bit of what the small car specialists are up to these days. The truth: despite the brand’s futuristic showcar image projections, Daihatsu mostly plays in the rough-and-tumble entry-level segments of emerging markets, where the cars are small and the margins can be even smaller.
And it’s had better luck there than in the so-called “mature markets.” Though the third generation Charade flopped on the American market amid much popular ridicule of its name (and, according to gearhead lore, oversight of other favorable qualities), the previous generation became the FAW-Tianjin “Xiali,” one of China’s most ubiquitous cars. Now Daihatsu is ditching Europe and hustling strangely cool little mini-MPVs built in Indonesia with the taglines “it’s very cheap” and “we build them compact.” Who needs developed markets?
With traditional compact pickups growing into the new “midsized” segment, Scion has long been tipped as a likely candidate to lead the US market back towards smaller, car-based pickup trucks. And, Scion’s VP Jack Hollis tells TTAC’s sister site Autoguide that such a vehicle, though not a certainty, could be possible.
Versus other vehicles, I can’t say it’s priority one. I’m very interested in it. A lot of prospective owners are interested in it and every meeting I have in Japan, I’m asking, what else can we do.
Hollis reveals that he has, in the past, pushed for an imported Daihatsu pickup for Scion’s US lineup, but that regulatory issues killed the business case. But now he’s suggesting that Scion and Daihatsu might jointly develop a small, fuel-efficient pickup… just as Subaru and Toyota/Scion developed the FT-86 together. If that happens, I’d expect something larger than Daihatsu’s typical kei-style trucks, for reasons hinted at in the video above. And to help you understand the legacy that a Daihatsu-Scion pickup might draw upon, here are a few random images of Daihatsu “trucks” (or possible inspirations) through the ages.
Doesn’t it bug you that you have to shell out loads of money in order to save gas? Here comes a fuel sipper that won’t suck your wallet dry. No fancy electronics, no heavy batteries, and it even so gets 30km per liter of gasoline (according to the JC08 standard,) which translates to a non-EPA, but nonetheless jaw-dropping 70 mpg. According to The Nikkei [sub], Toyota’s Kei car subsidiary Daihatsu “has developed technology that will enable it to offer the only [gasoline powered] car in the world” that gets these numbers without hybrid technology. (Read More…)
Minicars, that Japanese specialty with a pint-sized (0.66 liter) enginelet, still commands a market share of more than 30 percent in Japan. It used to be more. Toyota didn’t play in that segment, that’s what Daihatsu was for. Today, The Nikkei [sub] reports that Toyota will enter the minicar market. Wait a minute, wasn’t that what Daihatsu was for? Oh, they still are … (Read More…)
The market took note when little Daihatsu announced that its group net profit jumped 460 percent year on year to 19.9 billion yen ($227m) in the April-June quarter of the Japanese fiscal year. Daihatsu is a Toyota company, and the market is eagerly expecting Toyota’s results. (Read More…)
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? (Read More…)
Last month, we reported that China’s Great Wall received the EC Whole Vehicle Type Approval (WVTA,) awarded by the UK Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA) for their Coolbear MPV, which makes the car legal for sale in Europe.
Since this approval is lengthy (takes about a year) and costly (even when administered by the VCA, which is known for bargain basement pricing,) the announcement was taken as an intention of Great Wall to enter the European market. Here they come: