Open Copen Production Closin’

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

Man, I had to think long and hard to get that tongue-twister title. And I hope it brought a smile to your face — at least for a moment — as the news is actually quite sad:

Daihatsu’s ultra-cute convertible kei car — the Copen — is going to go out of production at the end of August this year. The Copen has been the only convertible kei car available in Japan recently, but is slated for retirement as a result of falling sales in recent years.

Daihatsu Copen 10th Anniversary Edition

The Copen’s rounded form won the “Good Design Award” in Japan in 2002, the year of its launch. Daihatsu is marking 10 years of production with a 10th Anniversary Edition that has leather seats as well as a commemorative 10th Anniversary plate in the door openings. The manual car will retail at 1.82 million Yen, with the auto coming in at a slightly lower 1.8 million Yen. Just 500 of these final models will be made.

There are no plans to replaced the Copen in Daihatsu’s line up, and the Copen’s demise will mean there are no longer any kei convertibles on offer in Japan as Honda and Suzuki have already abandoned the market.

The top speed is nothing to write home about (88 MPH), but the 0 – 62 KM/H time of 11.7 seconds is reasonable, especially considering the tiny engine capacity. The flip side is that fuel economy is an impressive 44.1 MPG.

The thing is, this car is about more than just numbers. If you want numbers, go get a GT-R (for outright speed and acceleration), or a plug-in hybrid Prius (if it’s fuel efficiency that floats your boat). This car is all about one thing — fun. It’s small and impractical, but its cheeky face says it all: It’s like the little puppy that wants to play — and keep on playing.

That’s what the Copen is all about. And that’s why it will be sorely missed in the showrooms and on the road. Sure, 2,000 units a year is hard to justify when you are a major manufacturer, especially when compared with peak sales of 11,000 units in 2003.

But at a time when Toyota and Subaru (with the 86GT and BRZ respectively) are looking less at absolute performance and aiming instead to capture the excitement of driving again, it is sad to see a car that so clearly said “fun” exiting stage left with no replacement on the horizon.

Source: Nikkei (Japanese-language)

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4 Responses to “Open Copen Production Closin’”

  1. Peter Robertson says:

    What a shame that our society has no room for character, fun, beauty, value and super impracticality!
    On the plus side my 2007 model will become even rarer.

    • Peter, I agree. I think one problem is that this was a niche model with few possible markets outside of Japan. A cabriolets are already niche, but then limit sales potential even more as a result of the kei car format and I think it is difficult for a manufacturer to justify.

  2. Sam says:

    This is such sad news. I only saw a Copen last week in my car park and fell in love instantly, was definitely considering to get my own. Now I suppose the prices will go up for used models since it’ll be considered a rare classic? What do you think? I really hope not.. Would like to get one for Christmas XD

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