Crapwagon Outtake: The Island Of Misfit Brands

Derek Kreindler
by Derek Kreindler

Daihatsu’s American foray lasted just four short years, from 1988-1992. Roughly ten Daihatsu cars are still for sale – not bad, considering they probably didn’t sell many more than that in total.

Ok, that’s an exaggeration. Daihatsu apparently sold 50,000 cars over a four year span, with 200 retail outlets and a marketing pitch that hinged on “BMW-like quality” at rock bottom prices. Given that Daihatsu exited the US market some time before my 4th birthday, I have no idea whether any of this is true or not. B&B, please fill me in here.

What I do know is that you can buy a Daihatsu Rocky for about $4000. This example has just 106,000 miles on it, and is one of a now-extinct breed of three-door, BOF SUVs that aren’t made by Jeep. But waitthere’s more.

If you’re looking for something a bit more car-like, there are a number of three-cylinder Daihatsu Charades available, in varying states of crapiness. The lone sedan offering is looking a little oxidized, while this black hatch looks nice and clean, although the “salvage title” is a little scary. This white example promises 40 em pee gees, while this one sneaks in under the $ 500 LeMons threshold.

Thanks to Max (@2fast2finkel) for finding the Daihatsu Rocky

Derek Kreindler
Derek Kreindler

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  • DrGastro997 DrGastro997 on Jun 23, 2014

    You can buy yourself a Yaris. It's the closest you can get to a Daihatsu here in the US. It's too bad Daihatsu gave up on us Americans. They make some very good small-mini machines...

  • Luvmyv8 Luvmyv8 on Jun 23, 2014

    One of my friends in high school had a Daihatsu Charade sedan. Never gave her any problems from what I recall. Cute girl then, still is now. The Charade is long gone though, replaced by 2 Saturns.

  • Texasspeed Texasspeed on Jun 23, 2014

    Since I was in college during that time period, I remember this. Daihatsu was using college students to market their cars. They had some program where college students would get a car to drive, and they made a little money for every referral or something like that. Kind of ahead of their time, 25 years ago.

    • GiddyHitch GiddyHitch on Jun 24, 2014

      Ha, seems like it worked about as well for Daewoo 25 years later.

  • Truckducken Truckducken on Jun 23, 2014

    I am hoping to sneak a Copen into the States one of these days. Other than that, yeah, Scion 0.0.