Toyota Previews Sporty S-FR, Steampunk Dune Buggy Before Tokyo Motor Show

Toyota on Thursday released a preview of what to expect on its stand at the Tokyo Motor Show later this month and it’s all sorts of steampunk and futuristic weirdness, but more on that in a moment.

While the Scion FR-S isn’t flying off dealer lots here in North America, the Japanese seem to like their compact sports coupes. The S-FR, according to Toyota is ” a lightweight, sporty concept offering a fun, responsive driving experience” and slots below the Toyobaru twins and go head-to-head with the Honda S660 kei sports that America won’t get because of course we won’t.

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Kei Car Caper: Deep Inside Carol

If I say the name “Carol” to the average American and mention a total width of 51 inches and a curb weight of a little over 1200 pounds, they will naturally think I am speaking about a woman who looks like Honey Boo-Boo’s mom. If I say the same thing to the average Japanese person, their mind will flash immediately to the cute little car produced by Mazda. It’s well they should, because when Mazda decided to team up with Suzuki in 1989 to produce a new Kei class car for their just launched youth-oriented “Autozam” brand they cornered the market on “kawaii.”

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Demise Of Kei Cars Predicted

Japan’s minivehicles or “kei” cars could lose their (next to their cuteness) biggest attraction: The tax benefit. The Japanese government is thinking about charging the same tax for regular cars and mini vehicles alike, The Nikkei [sub] writes.

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Exclusive Pictures: Honda Launches (Well ...) Plus-Sized NBOX+ Into Burgeoning Kei Car Market

Honda lifted the embargo on its updated NBOX+, a sister-model of its bestselling NBOX minivehicle that passed our feared “from the backseat” test drive with flying colors.

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Junkyard Find: Mitsubishi Minicab Dump Truck

Sometimes I wonder how it’s even possible for some vehicles to slip through all the steps that should stop them from washing ashore on Crusher Island. Something as useful as a kei-sized dump truck, for example.

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Suzuki And VW Are In A Hurry

Freshly wedded Suzuki and Volkswagen are not losing any time in consummating the marriage. Joint work will start immediately, or rather on January 10, 2010 said Suzuki Chief Executive Osamu Suzuki to Reuters. With that date, Suzuki-San is already bowing to Wolfsburg’s ingrained culture. As of this coming Friday evening, everybody who is somebody at VW will be off skiing in Zermatt or soaking in the surf of the Maledives, not to return before January 10th. No linkup with Suzuki will change that.

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Japanese November Car Sales: Up 44 Percent? Or 36 Percent? Or 18 Percent?

If you are a daily reader of the Nikkei, as we are in the Schmitto-san household, you can sometimes lose your confidence in Japanese precision and accuracy.

Yesterday, we quoted the Nikkei as saying that “sales of new cars and trucks rose 36 percent year on year to 293,410 units in November, marking the fourth straight month of increase, the Japan Automobile Dealers Association said Tuesday. Passenger car sales surged 43.8 percent to 268,450 units.”

Today, we read in the Nikkei that “new-vehicle sales increased 18.3 percent to 436,535 units in November for a third straight year-on-year gain, according to industry data released Tuesday.”

Shitsurei?

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  • Dr Mindbender I like the look of the new little hot hatch GV they showed in Orange...it will be interesting to see if they start making larger hybrid drivetrains on their own or find a partner. I looked at Teslas in 2018...EVs don't meet my needs until solid state and prolific recharge in the open desert of SW USA is a reality. Even Porsche expanded their hybrid tech to the flagship, and Kia is all about aping Porsche, perhaps we'll see a T-hybrid in the Genesis lineup???? I always wondered when using a battery to pre-spin a turbocharger would actually work. In general tho, I find the Genesis design language to be quite awful, but I also think the Cayenne is a thing of magnificent beauty...so that balances out I guess. The focus on luxury over performance is where I think they go wrong...but again, Porsche...so I guess my lenses are quite tinted.
  • Slavuta So, Trump was hyperbolic... big deal.
  • Slavuta The question was, "does it make sense for Elon...?" I don't know why people jumped into conclusions in this comment section. My answer is this - if he does it, it makes sense to him. He knows better than any of us here. May be with his donations he can become an ambassador to an important state or secretary of energy, or chief of NASA. This is how America works. Donate $1m - ambassador to Poland, $3m - japan, $5M - Germany, etc. $20,000 could buy you Kenya or something
  • CanadaCraig We should be able to give comments a 'dislike' or 'thumbs down'. We're not 6 years old. I'm sure we cope if someone doesn't 'like' our comment.
  • Dartdude He knows that a Trump economy is a great opportunity to sell more cars (EV,ICE). Compare both terms and Trumps is the winner by a long shot.