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Kei Cars

  #1  
Old 05-16-2014, 01:15 AM
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Kei Cars

Just wondering, will Kei cars ever come to North America?

I somewhat see it as a possibility since look at sub-compacts and how they are actually doing quiet well in sales lately since NA is beginning to accept these kinds of cars more due to gas prices and in some cases, space issues in larger cities.

Would be cool to see some kei cars start coming into the market in the future.

Also, I always found it weird that some companies still haven't even entered the sub-compact market like Subaru.
 
  #2  
Old 05-19-2014, 10:17 AM
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not sure, with the higher speeds required in the US and higher (heavier) safety equipment, it might not be worth it. take for instance the japanese nissan cube vs american market cube. much bigger.


the reason why kei cars are cheap is basically because it's like a motorcycle (or lawn mower) with a cabin. lol anyway, mosty poor people buy those as scooter replacements to run daily errands. with fat america, i dont think the regular joe will be happy with its power and size.


i like the tiny formfactor though.
 
  #3  
Old 06-12-2014, 09:25 AM
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Originally Posted by kenchan View Post
not sure, with the higher speeds required in the US and higher (heavier) safety equipment, it might not be worth it. take for instance the japanese nissan cube vs american market cube. much bigger.


the reason why kei cars are cheap is basically because it's like a motorcycle (or lawn mower) with a cabin. lol anyway, mosty poor people buy those as scooter replacements to run daily errands. with fat america, i dont think the regular joe will be happy with its power and size.


i like the tiny formfactor though.
There have been kei cars released in the US, though with larger displacement engines than permitted under Japan's regulations. The most recent example is the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, but the Suzuki Samurai was a slightly modified Jimny which is a kei off-roader. The smart ForTwo also needs only minor modifications to meet the dimensions for a kei car.

I'm not sure where you got the idea that the JDM Nissan Cube was any smaller than the US version as they are the same size. Perhaps you were thinking of one of the earlier generations? Only the 3rd generation Cube was released here and like most car models have tended to grow bigger. Early Civics were smaller than the Fit.

Kei cars account for nearly 40% of the Japanese market, and are not cheap alternatives for poor people! Kei cars are popular for many reasons, not the least of which is their size. They are easier to park and navigate through Japan's side roads which can be very narrow and many achieve fuel efficiency that rival a Prius.

To speak to Mr. Impreza's post, Americans prefer larger cars than most of the world. Even subcompacts are a tough sell here. Subaru has a tight partnership with Toyota and their kei-manufacturing subsidiary Daihatsu. Through them they receive rebadged kei cars and subcompacts to sell for their domestic market, so Subaru can keep focus on their core products. Honda, on the other hand, develops their vehicles on its own, so they build everything from kei cars to SUVs to the NSX.
 
  #4  
Old 06-12-2014, 12:36 PM
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You can start legally importing and registering some of the cooler old kei cars for yourself now under 25 year rule.

I want this guy:


I would drive a kei car as long as I could fit in it. Faster than driving a 1200 Beetle, which I would also drive, just not on the freeway lol
 
  #5  
Old 06-12-2014, 12:50 PM
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haha, city turbo. i remember seeing those new. :D


i saw a lot of these kei cars while i was in japan last week. it's like a glorified scooter for short trips to the supermarket.
they're not bad. not made for american roads...and too small for me to really carry anything in.
 
  #6  
Old 06-12-2014, 12:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Wanderer. View Post
You can start legally importing and registering some of the cooler old kei cars for yourself now under 25 year rule.
That's a sweet looking City Turbo, although technically it isn't a kei car. Hard to believe but its dimensions were too big to meet the kei class restrictions. :o
 
  #7  
Old 06-12-2014, 04:22 PM
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^Oh wow! I didn't know that. I've seen some pictures next to people and it looks tiny! But I guess thinking about Cappuccinos and Beats they are smaller even.

I wonder if I can fit in a Beat? Probably not lol
 
  #8  
Old 06-12-2014, 04:42 PM
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Another reason for the many keis in Japan, one doesn't have to have a registered parking space. Not sure if this is going away as the many tax breaks are. I can only hope so, they still take up space regardless that they are smaller in stature. I wonder if Honda will still really pursue this market if it doesn't really have a benefit in the future. The FE on them isn't great for being what they are in reality. Maybe if you drive as if Miss Daisy is with you no matter the circumstance. Back to Honda, the S660 was something I was going to look at, but hopefully now it will also get the 1 liter like what is rumored for stateside.

Also, just look at the Fit and how it received a large snoz compared to the Japan and other parts of the world. What would need to be done to a kei? Even if they employ the same G-Con tech (speaking strictly about Honda's keis as compared to their regular vehicles). And they are quite annoyingly slow. They have their place I guess, but Japan would be better off losing them, or maybe I'm just being selfish as they are always in my way. :)
 

Last edited by 555sexydrive; 06-12-2014 at 04:54 PM.
  #9  
Old 06-12-2014, 09:01 PM
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considering how some streets in japan, especially around tokyo, are so damn narrow kei's have their place, i think. not everyone can drive as well as we can dodging light poles standing like a meter into the street. lol
 
  #10  
Old 06-12-2014, 09:09 PM
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Honda City

One year, I think Motor Trend brought a City to SoCalif to do test drives. They loved the car, but Honda didn't want to import it. If you look at a mid 80's Honda Civic wagon, it looked much like the City. When I bought my first Honda, 86 Civic Si hatch, I was pretty close to buying the wagon instead, just cuz I liked the style, inside space, etc - but the engine wasn't very powerful. My Si had fuel injection, first time for Civic, 91 HP, and it was real close in performance to my 13 Fit (from what I remember, anyway). Honda has always been a master at building a city car. That's really what the Fit is.
 
  #11  
Old 06-12-2014, 11:37 PM
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Yeah they have their place, shouldn't be allowed out of city limits or mandated to stay on roads that are the size of 1 lane in the US, but for 2 cars here. :)
 
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