The Truth About Cars » daihatsu http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 17 Apr 2014 16:54:55 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.1 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 » daihatsu http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Junkyard Find: 1990 Daihatsu Rocky http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/junkyard-find-1990-daihatsu-rocky/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/junkyard-find-1990-daihatsu-rocky/#comments Wed, 19 Mar 2014 13:00:43 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=775281 13 - 1990 Daihatsu Rocky Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinRemember the Daihatsu Rocky? No? That’s OK, several vehicles of this type sank without a trace during the late 1980s and early 1990s (e.g., the Dodge Raider), and Daihatsu itself fled the United States in 1992. I see Daihatsu Charades in self-serve wrecking yards about every six months these days— including this ’89 and this ’90— and I don’t bother photographing most of them. A Rocky, on the other hand… well, let’s just say that this is the first Rocky I’ve seen anywhere in at least five years. How many are left on the street in North America? Hundreds? Dozens?
01 - 1990 Daihatsu Rocky Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinThere must be at least one in the Denver area, because this junked example has been picked clean.
07 - 1990 Daihatsu Rocky Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinThese little trucks came with a 1.6 liter engine and front- or four-wheel-drive.
04 - 1990 Daihatsu Rocky Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinAre project Rockies worth anything? Apparently not.
20140315_120504Right after I photographed this Rocky, I felt compelled to go on eBay and buy a vintage Daihatsu Racing sticker for my travel laptop. I also got a Daihatsu patch for my race suit.
DaihatsuTerios2-900x540I was so inspired by the sight of this Rocky that I dove down the rabbit hole of 21st century Daihatsu mini-SUV ads, and there I found some seriously frenzied Daihatsu Terios-thrashin’ stuff. Perhaps Daihatsu will return to the US soon, with a Rocky-badged Terios. All right, let’s watch some Rocky ads!

The actors in this JDM Rocky ad need to lay off the helium, is all I have to say.

In Germany, a romantic approach was used to pitch the Rocky (badged as a Feroza in Europe).

For Australia, the Rocky (Feroza) was compared to the body of Surf Iron Man Champion Guy Leech.

Another Australian (or maybe New Zealand) ad shows the Turbodiesel Rocky, which was apparently half Ferrari and half tank.

Also an excellent choice for surfers who liked to crash through sand dunes. Wouldn’t some of those impacts have set off the airbags? Oh, right— pre-airbag era, carry on!

01 - 1990 Daihatsu Rocky Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1990 Daihatsu Rocky Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1990 Daihatsu Rocky Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1990 Daihatsu Rocky Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1990 Daihatsu Rocky Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1990 Daihatsu Rocky Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1990 Daihatsu Rocky Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1990 Daihatsu Rocky Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1990 Daihatsu Rocky Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1990 Daihatsu Rocky Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1990 Daihatsu Rocky Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1990 Daihatsu Rocky Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1990 Daihatsu Rocky Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1990 Daihatsu Rocky Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1990 Daihatsu Rocky Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1990 Daihatsu Rocky Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 18 - 1990 Daihatsu Rocky Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 19 - 1990 Daihatsu Rocky Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 21 - 1990 Daihatsu Rocky Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 22 - 1990 Daihatsu Rocky Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 23 - 1990 Daihatsu Rocky Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 24 - 1990 Daihatsu Rocky Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 25 - 1990 Daihatsu Rocky Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 26 - 1990 Daihatsu Rocky Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 27 - 1990 Daihatsu Rocky Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin ]]>
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Daihatsu Concept Kopen, A Revived Copen To Take On Honda S660 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/daihatsu-concept-kopen-a-revived-copen-to-take-on-honda-s660/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/daihatsu-concept-kopen-a-revived-copen-to-take-on-honda-s660/#comments Thu, 31 Oct 2013 11:30:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=638745 m1my9r5beo7o_600

Now that Honda seems to be reviving the Beat kei sports car in the form of the S660, to be shown to the public for the first time next month at the Tokyo Auto Show, Daihatsu has revealed that it will be also showing a small kei roadster with a retractable hardtop as well.

They’re calling it the Kopen, an obvious reference to the Copen kei car which went out of production in 2012 after a 13 year run. Two versions will be shown, the Kopen RMZ, a slick looking little roadster and the Kopen XMZ, which features matte grey body cladding for a more rugged look.

Both cars have the same dimensions: 3395mm (133.6 inches) length, 1475mm (58 inches) width and 1275mm (51 inches) height. They are powered with three-cylinder 660cc engines driving through a CVT with steering-wheel mounted “shifter”  paddles.

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Question Of The Day: What Is The Best Orphan Car In History? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/11/question-of-the-day-what-is-the-best-orphan-car-in-history/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/11/question-of-the-day-what-is-the-best-orphan-car-in-history/#comments Mon, 12 Nov 2012 14:00:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=466565

Are you talkin’ to me???

 

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.

They are gone now from these shores, for now. As is Opel, Hummer, Mercury, Plymouth, and in due time, Suzuki. An amazing variety of brands that offered their own interesting contributions to the mosaic of the American automotive experience.

Rockys and Rodeos were rugged for too short of a while. While Hummer alternated between playing the role of the military bad-ass and the fashionista poseur. Eventually style won, followed by bankruptcy.

Europeans always offered a more sophisticated level of style while battling Gremlins on every level. While weaker Japanese marques, plainly, contributed varying levels of utility and engineering excellence to a marketplace that expected far more.

Then there is Oldsmobile.

Oldsmobile, the rocket division, was the power and the glory.  From their 300+ horsepower cruisers of the late-60′s to the best selling Cutlass Supremes of the mid-80′s. It’s hard to find fault with a popular brand like Oldsmobile that was torturously mis-marketed and blandified into irrelevance.

All defunct brands have their unique qualities. But which vintage offered the very best? Which model among them all provided that level of power and prestige that begs for a resurrection of the brand?

Any constraints on choices? Well… no outright luxury or exotic brands. Vectors, Deusenbergs, Cords and Tuckers may have their place in museuems the world over. But for this particular exercise I want special attention to be given to those models that served the everyday Joe.

Choose your car wisely, and defend it well.  Hell hath no Fury like a Plymouth.

 

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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 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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Daihatsu Euthanizes Last Surviving Topless Kei Car http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/04/daihatsu-euthanizes-last-surviving-topless-kei-car/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/04/daihatsu-euthanizes-last-surviving-topless-kei-car/#comments Tue, 03 Apr 2012 12:56:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=437828

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.

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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 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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Never Mind The Showcars, Here’s How Daihatsu Gets It Done http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/11/never-mind-the-showcars-heres-how-daihatsu-gets-it-done/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/11/never-mind-the-showcars-heres-how-daihatsu-gets-it-done/#comments Thu, 10 Nov 2011 02:05:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=417438

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?


Of course you can’t mention Daihatsu without referencing the fact that it is majority owned by Toyota, and the two firms work hand-in-hand. For example, the MPV advertised at the top of the post is sold as both a Daihatsu Xenia and a Toyota Avanza. Interestingly, the outgoing Toyota Yaris was put on sale in Europe as the Daihatsu Charade just this year… apparently the brand’s last “new” model before disappearing from its toehold in Europe.

Speaking of obligatory references, here’s Top Gear’s love song to Daihatsu’s Terios.

Though the Asian national disasters have not left it untouched, Daihatsu is one of the few Japanese makers to actually raise its profit outlook (pending damage reports from the Thai floods). And though its export models like the Terios are being hit by the Yen increases just like everyone else, joint ventures in China, Indonesia and elsewhere keep Daihatsu diversified. Besides, not being dependent on the American and European middle classes for sales is a good way to be weathering a “mature market” downturn (especially in contrast to its city-cousin, Scion). And that is reason enough to keep the funky, futuristic concept cars coming..

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Wild-Ass Rumor Of The Day: Scion And Daihatsu Considering Joint Small Pickup For US? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/11/wild-ass-rumor-of-the-day-scion-and-daihatsu-considering-joint-small-pickup-for-us/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/11/wild-ass-rumor-of-the-day-scion-and-daihatsu-considering-joint-small-pickup-for-us/#comments Wed, 09 Nov 2011 19:11:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=417362

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.
daihatsu_rugger_pair_1993 daihatsuad daihatsubasket daihatsufourtrak daihatsuhijet daihatsulegacy daihatsumiratruck DaihatsuMudMaster daihatsunaked daihatsuruggerpickup daihatsutaft daihatsutaft1 daihatsutriketruck daihatsutruck OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA daihatsuvan

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Finally: Fuel Savings On The Cheap http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/07/finally-fuel-savings-on-the-cheap/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/07/finally-fuel-savings-on-the-cheap/#comments Tue, 19 Jul 2011 14:16:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=403548

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.

The technology is called “e:S” which simply stands for “energy saving.” It had been showcased fist at the 2009 Tokyo Motorshow. Now it is ready to be released into the wild. The first e:S minivehicle will be released in Japan in September, at a likewise jaw-dropping price of under 800,000 yen ($10,000).

According to Daihatsu, that “e:S” technology is as simple as this:

  • A new engine with maximized combustion efficiency and minimized energy loss
  • Continuously variable transmission (CVT) with higher power transmission efficiency
  • Shell body streamlined to achieve a weight reduction of around 60 kg*3
  • Air resistance, rolling resistance and other running resistance lowered
  • Thermal management in the engine room
  • A new Eco-Idle system with pre-stop idle reduction functions
  • Eco power generation control (with regenerative braking functions)

 

 

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Subaru Says Sayonara to Making Kei Cars http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/04/subary-says-sayonara-to-making-kei-cars/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/04/subary-says-sayonara-to-making-kei-cars/#comments Fri, 29 Apr 2011 22:31:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=393230

For nearly a year, readers of TTAC have known what’s coming now. As reported back when, Fuji Heavy’s Subaru will end its 54-year history of producing minivehicles in February next year.

Drawing on rich experience with aircraft manufacturing technology, a very light Subaru 360 was the first minicar marketed in Japan. Launched in 1958, the 360 started the Japanese kei car craze.

Fuji Heavy sold about 270,000 minivehicles at its peak in fiscal 1990, but with the dwindling of kei car sales, Fuji’s numbers declined to about 93,000 units in fiscal 2010, says The Nikkei [sub]

Fuji already ceased production of the Subaru Stella. Subaru Sambar commercial vehicles will be the last ones to roll off Subaru’s lines.

Subaru will not exit the mini vehicle business. Cars will be built under OEM contract by Toyota’s  Daihatsu.

Fuji heavy will use its mini vehicle lines to assemble sports cars, jointly developed with Toyota.

 

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Daihatsu Says Sayonara To Europe http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/01/daihatsu-says-sayonara-to-europe/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/01/daihatsu-says-sayonara-to-europe/#comments Mon, 17 Jan 2011 05:53:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=380758

Toyota’s minicar subsidiary Daihatsu is leaving Europe. Daihatsu will end auto sales in Europe on Jan. 31, 2013, The Nikkei [sub] reports. Reason given: “The yen’s strength has made exporting vehicles from Japan next to impossible.”

Daihatsu had never shifted production to Europe. They exported their cars from Japan, all 19,300 of them sold in Europe in 2010. (The ACEA statistics don’t even list Daihatsu anymore.) That’s down from 58,600 units Daihatsu had sold in Europe in 2007.

Daihatsu is not the only Japanese company that is falling on hard times in Europe. You think the Japanese have a problem with the strong yen versus the Dollar? Nothing compared to the strong Yen versus the weak Euro. Add to that European car sales that are in the doldrums, and you have a recipe for abandoning all hope.

While the European market had shrunk by only 5.5 percent in 2010, many large name Japanese manufacturers are double digit casualties: Toyota -17.4 percent, Suzuki -23.1 percent, Honda -23.9 percent, Mazda -13.9 percent.

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Toyota: Let’s Get Small http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/09/toyota-let%e2%80%99s-get-small/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/09/toyota-let%e2%80%99s-get-small/#comments Tue, 28 Sep 2010 12:15:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=367054

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 …

In a communiqué, Toyota announced that “Daihatsu is to supply minivehicles to TMC on an original-equipment-manufacturer’s basis for sale in Japan.” In other words, Toyota will rebadge Daihatsus and sell them through the Toyota dealer network. Which will make Daihtasu dealers just giddy with joy.

But don’t worry,  “even with this development, TMC will continue to mainly focus on full-size vehicles and Daihatsu on minivehicles.”

Phew. Glad they mentioned that.

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Daihatsu’s Profits Up Nearly Fivefold – Good Omen For Toyota http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/07/daihatsu%e2%80%99s-profits-up-nearly-fivefold-god-omen-for-toyota/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/07/daihatsu%e2%80%99s-profits-up-nearly-fivefold-god-omen-for-toyota/#comments Wed, 28 Jul 2010 16:06:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=361717

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.

What is interesting is that profits shot up nearly fivefold while sales rose by a sedate 20 percent from the same period last year. It’s mostly cost cutting that boosted earnings. Those cost cutting measures usually are not limited to one division only. Just like Toyota, Daihatsu did not change their guidance for the rest of the year. In case you are trading currencies:  Daihatsu doesn’t expect any major surprises in the dollar/yen rate. They have the greenback at 90 yen in their budget (currently 87.5). They expect the Euro to appreciate to 125 yen (currently 113.8)

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Get Your Eyesight At Half Price. In A Subaru http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/05/get-your-eyesight-at-half-price-in-a-subaru/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/05/get-your-eyesight-at-half-price-in-a-subaru/#comments Wed, 12 May 2010 09:06:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=356239

Electronic doo-dads such as collision-avoidance systems used to be the realm of pricier models. Fuji Heavy, parent of Subaru, will change that. They are dead set to nannify all Subarus with their newly developed collision avoidance system, says The Nikkei [sub].

The reason? Officially, it’s “growing consumer interest in automobile safety.” The truth is, Fuji figured how to make the gizmo much cheaper.

Fuji’s “EyeSight” uses standard stereoscopic cameras. This cuts the price of the gizmo down to 100,000 yen ($1080.) That’s about half of what current systems cost. Still, a grand is a grand, and a Subaru is a Subaru. Let’s hope the el-cheapo EyeSight will remain feature optional.

EyeSight will first be given to the new Legacy, due out this month in Japan. Subaru reckons a take rate of 30 percent. Subsequently, the Impreza, Forester and other models will get their own EyeSight.

Most likely, you will also find the gizmo in minicars by Daihatsu, “with a rollout for vehicles marketed overseas to be considered next year,” as The Nikkei speculates.

The EyeSight system uses two cameras close to the rearview mirror. It looks for obstacles in front of the car. If it finds one, the system first warns the driver. If the driver ignores the warning, that system slams the brakes. That should distract them from texting or applying lipstick.

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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 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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The Chinese Are Coming! http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/12/the-chinese-are-coming-2/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/12/the-chinese-are-coming-2/#comments Mon, 21 Dec 2009 08:17:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=339785 Gang of four. Picture courtesy  gwm.com.cn

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:

I.M. Group, a UK-based  importer and distributor for Subaru, Isuzu and Daihatsu, has signed an agreement  with Great Wall, that covers the importation of Great Wall vehicles into Europe, starting next year, Gasgoo reports.

Initially, the small (and poor) Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania will be targeted as some kind of a test market. From 2011 on, launches in Scandinavia, the UK and Ireland are planned.

On closer inspection, it now turns out that Great Wall had not received one, but a total of four WVTA certifications: For the Florid, Coolbear, Hover 5, and Wingle 4.

Great Wall is not the only manufacturer who has received WVTA. But WVTA is only half of the bargain. To make the vehicle totally legit, the company must survive what is called an “initial assessment,” an intrusive colonoscopy-like procedure, in which foreign inspectors dissect the deepest secrets of a company, from product management to conformity of production, all the way down to how parts of old cars can be re-used and recycled. In other words: You can’t just present a compliant prototype. You must also prove that you are able to produce it in consistent quality. According to a statement by Great Wall, they are the first Chinese car company to successfully complete such an assessment. Without a positive initial assessment, you have spent a lot of time and money for the certification of a car, and you still can’t sell it freely in Europe.

Great Wall is one of the few privately owned Chinese car makers. The I.M. Group maintains an office in Beijing, employing about 40 people. Coincidentally, the Chinese Rep Office of the VCA is just down the hall. I.M. is in Unit 801 of the Manhattan CNT Building in Beijing, the VCA is in Unit 818.

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