Posts Tagged ‘daihatsu’

Toyota’s $3.1 Billion Daihatsu Takeover

Posted by Stephen On Monday, February 1st, 2016

Toyota Motor Corp. recently claimed that they are seriously considering purchasing the remainder of Daihatsu for $3.1 billion. At the moment, they own 52 percent of Daihatsu.
There are also claims that Toyota is in partnership talks with Suzuki – one of Daihatsu’s arrivals. Interesting to note, Toyota denies this.

Old Daihatsu Logo

If Toyota were able to completely take over Daihatsu, it would reduce procurement costs for the smaller company. This would also give Toyota the opportunity to leverage the low-cost brand to their advantage.

If Toyota was in partnership talks with Suzuki, then Toyota might be of the make some headway into India – a car market where Suzuki commands the majority share.
At the moment, Toyota claims that no decisions have been made but they are always considering various ways that they can partner with Daihatsu.

The Daihatsu Brand

Daihatsu is a special brand to Japan. They specialize in 660cc engines, easily competing with Suzuki. Unfortunately, Daihatsu is the weakest player in the Toyota group. Its global sales fell 13.3 percent in 2015. Unfortunately, that also puts Toyota sales down by 0.8 percent for a total sales figure of 10.15 million vehicles sold last year.

Not to put too much of a damper on it, Toyota still retains the title of the world’s largest automaker. Volkswagen, the vehicle maker who came in second, sold 9.93 million vehicles in 2015.
There’s an enormous demand for compact cars in India. Partnership cost between Suzuki and Toyota could offer the opportunity necessary to capitalize on the opportunity. However, if Toyota were to take over Daihatsu, Suzuki would be put at odds. You see, the Daihatsu and Suzuki fiercely compete for the same customers. The takeover would put Toyota on the opposite side of the table from Suzuki.

One analyst noted that it is certainly possible that Toyota could be planning on using Daihatsu as a low-cost, sub- premium brand. The merger of the two would certainly put Toyota on the map in India and can be used as an effective weapon to diminish the Suzuki name in the country.

Of course, such a merger could also benefit both companies. Suzuki has claim to a network in India, through its Maruti Suzuki India Ltd. brand that Toyota would gain access to and greatly benefit from. Another analyst from J.P. Morgan did note that Toyota would be an excellent and stable shareholder in the Suzuki profile. Furthermore, Suzuki might gain access to proprietary Toyota technologies in the race to make electric vehicles.


2015 Daihatsu Mira Cocoa PlusX Trim Revealed

Posted by Stephen On Saturday, October 18th, 2014

Toyota’s budget brand, Daihatsu, has a new quirky treat for young and hip Japanese drivers. Once you take a look, though, it’ll be easy to see why this car will remain a JDM-only model. It’s too small, too underpowered and frankly too Japanese to be as well-received anywhere else.

This is the newly released 2015 Daihatsu Mira Cocoa PlusX trim, revealed just in time for the next model year. You’ll find it pictured here in a sweet cotton candy pink:

2014 Daihatsu MiraCocoa PlusX

If you don’t live in Japan, this teeny-tiny pink city car probably seems a little too gimmicky to be taken seriously. However, its small size and incredible efficiency put it perfectly into Japan’s strictly regulated kei car class of vehicles, which offer drivers tax and insurance advantages over larger cars. To classify as a kei car, this cotton candy supermini runs on a mere 52hp and 44 lb-ft (60 Nm) of torque coming from a pocket-sized 660cc three-cylinder petrol engine.

Of course, if pink isn’t your style, Daihatsu offers 15 exterior color choices ranging from the cotton candy pink pictured above, to manlier shades of blue or green, and even some plain earthtones like beige and ivory for the more conservative kei car drivers. Unsurprisingly, Daihatsu has noted that its elegantly simple design and ease-of-handling have made it a favorite among female drivers.

What is surprising, though, is that the interior offers even more customization options than the exterior with Daihatsu’s special “My Room Feeling” cabin. This basically allows you to choose from a variety of seating, dashboard and seatbelt trims/designs to ensure that your Mira Cocoa PlusX is truly your car. All told, between the outside and inside you’ve got over 160 color and feature combinations to choose from, and that’s not even counting the catalog full of matching accessories that Daihatsu makes available with each model.

2013 Toyota MeWe Concept

While Toyota has no official plans to bring any vehicle even remotely similar to the Daihatsu Mira Cocoa to NA or EU shores, they have at least shown an interest in testing the market. Remember the Toyota Me.We Concept from 2013 (pictured above)? Looks pretty close to the Mira Cocoa, doesn’t it? It even has similar bench-style seating! But this could all just be a random coincidence; we’re the only ones drawing the connection.

Either way, if you’d like to pine over the new MiraCocoa PlusX a bit more, you can get a comprehensive look at the kei car through the video below:


Honda S660 Kei Sports Car Confirmed for Production

Posted by Stephen On Friday, May 9th, 2014

It’s been a big week for Japanese-made sports cars. First we had the unconfirmed rumor out of Australia that Toyota will produce a convertible GT86, even after previously indicating the opposite. Today we have confirmation that Honda is giving the green light to manufacture the Beat-based S660 Concept as early as 2015.

Honda S660 Concept

We first saw the Honda S660 Concept (above) at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show last November. As you can see, it has a splendid aesthetic with a modern design that goes above and beyond what you’d expect from an automaker like Honda. At first glance it’s reminiscent of a convertible Acura NSX, albeit much, much smaller, but in truth it’s based on the Honda EV-STER Concept from the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show (below).

Honda EV-STER Concept

Honda’s newest sports car’s measurements are small enough to fit Japan’s Kei car regulations, which limit body length at 3.4m and width at 1.48m. Even the concept’s name hints at its size, S660 being a reference to the bite-sized engine displacement – 660cc. This engine is the same size as was in the original Honda Beat from 1991.

In fact, the closer you look at the S660 Concept’s powertrain, the more you see where this car has its roots. Just like the original Beat, the S660 will use a rear-drive, mid-engine layout for optimum balance. Honda claims that the car will have a perfect 50:50 weight distribution between the front and rear axles. If the S660 does indeed follow in the Beat’s footsteps, then you can expect to the production model to get a turbocharged three-cylinder engine that outputs 64 horsepower, the maximum power allowed by Kei car regulations.

With all the limitations put on the S660’s mechanics, you can see why Honda put such a heavy emphasis on its looks. What they presented us in Tokyo was simultaneously clean and aggressive with all the right features. LED headlights, a dominant grille and sharp-cut wheels all help make the S660 stand out from the crowd. Of course, by the time the S660 launches in 2015, it will need to stand out from the crowd… Toyota is planning to revive their Daihatsu Copen sometime around 2015, and Suzuki may do the same with their old Cappuccino by 2016.

There are probably at least a few reading this who’d be interested in owning one of these pearly white S660 roadsters when they finally launch sometime next year. Unfortunately, initial speculation indicates that the S660 will be limited exclusively to the Japanese market. Still, anything can happen, so we’ll be sure to keep you updated as we draw closer to the little sports car’s debut.


New Daihatsu Kopen Concept Coming to the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

You may recall last week when we discussed the news that Daihatsu has plans to debut a new Copen concept at the upcoming 2013 Tokyo Motor Show. Well, this week we have official confirmation as to what that concept will be… In a somewhat unimaginative throwback to the original roadster, what you see below has been dubbed the Daihatsu Kopen Concept. With a K.

Daihatsu Kopen concept car - Tokyo Motor Show 2013

But, that’s not all. In addition to the blue version pictured above, Daihatsu also released images for green and orange versions, pictured below:

Daihatsu Kopen concept car in green - Tokyo Motor Show 2013

Daihatsu Kopen concept car in orange - Tokyo Motor Show 2013

As you can see, there are slight differences between the three different-colored concepts in addition to their respective hue.

For example, the green Kopen includes thick black styling around the wheelbase, and features a more angular grill and front clip design. Also notice that the green and orange versions have red-orange interior styling, while the blue version gets more conventional beige-colored seating.

All of this suggests that Daihatsu will showcase multiple Kopen concepts at the Tokyo Motor Show next month. It’s possible that each different color will represent a different set of features. For example, it might be that the sporty green Kopen will be the premium performance-oriented model, while the blue might feature a hybrid powertrain, and the orange might be the entry-level gas-only version.

Again, these are not intended to be accurate speculations; consider them as mere ideas to help you come to your own conclusions for what each color might mean.

If you want to learn more about the Copen-inspired Kopen Concepts, we have a more detailed post here. Unfortunately, there’s little more that we can tell you until either (A) Daihatsu releases more information ahead of Tokyo, or (B) Tokyo arrives and we see the cars “in the metal”.

In the meantime, we actually have further confirmation of two more Daihatsu concepts coming to the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show.

The FC凸DECK & Deca-Deca Concepts

Daihatsu FCDeck concept - Tokyo Motor Show 2013

This is probably one of the most uniquely designed concepts we’ve seen all year… Who would’ve guessed it’d come from Daihatsu? It looks more like something you would expect to see from …. Lego!

Unfortunately, all that Daihatsu told us is that this is a fuel-cell powered mini truck based on the FC Sho Concept from the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show. However, we do know that the concept will also showcase its own freestanding power supply.

Looking at the design of the FC凸DECK Concept, it seems reasonable to assume that the power supplies are capable of slotting into the rear of the truck.

To go with the FC-Japanese-symbol-DECK (that’s actually the Japanese kanji for “convex”, not something from Tetris), Daihatsu will also showcase the Deca-Deca minivan (below) derived from the aforementioned mini truck. That means it’ll also probably be fuel-cell powered.

Daihatsu Deca-Deca concept van - Tokyo Motor Show 2013

See the thin grill between the headlights on this concept? Not that it matters, but it’d actually be really interesting to see that pattern adopted by a sports car. Just one writer’s opinion.

All in all, it’s looking like the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show will be a great showing for every Japanese car maker – even Daihatsu! It’s pretty unlikely that we’ll hear anything more about any of these concepts before Tokyo, but definitely stay tuned for further updates after November 22nd when they’ve all three made their official debut. Until then, thanks for reading!


Daihatsu Plans to Revive their Copen Roadster

Posted by Stephen On Saturday, October 26th, 2013

Mark your calendars everybody: It’s officially the week of the Japanese roadster.

If you’ll recall, we started off the week looking at the Mazda MX-5 GT Jota. Then, yesterday we previewed the upcoming Honda S660 Concept, which takes its inspiration from the old Honda Beat mini-roadster. Today, in perhaps the biggest coincidence of all time, we now have official word that the Honda Beat’s old rival, the Daihatsu Copen, is also slated for a return to production.

Daihatsu Copen

Just like the original Honda Beat, the Daihatsu Copen was a tiny roadster built to comply with Japan’s strict kei car restrictions.  Basically, kei (literally “light”) cars are defined by their small size and very low-displacement engines (less than 0.66 liters). The upside for kei drivers is that they enjoy lower taxes and exemption from some fees.

Kei regulations were originally established in post-war Japan to help popularize personal automobiles by offering drivers smaller, more affordable vehicles. However, the specific kei class never really caught on outside Japan, although there are mini cars in every market today.

Unlike the Honda Beat, the old Daihatsu Copen was successful enough to make it into the UK. However, just like the Beat and its successor (the Honda S2200), the Daihatsu Copen is no longer in production.

The difference is that where the S2000 was cut from Honda’s roster in 2009, Daihatsu stopped producing the Copen with a dramatic “10th anniversary final-500-models production run” in August of last year.  It seems a little odd that they’d go through the trouble of removing a car from their lineup only to reintroduce it again one year later. Maybe it’s a marketing thing. Who knows?

One possible explanation is that the future Daihatsu Copen and the Copen of the past will differ enough that a break in production makes sense.  For example, Daihatsu showcased eight brand-new concepts and the 2013 Indonesia International Motor Show earlier this year, and at least one of them was directly inspired by the Copen of old. Take a look at the D-R Concept below, which not only showcases distinctly Copen-like aesthetic themes, but also contains the exact same 660cc engine as the late kei roadster:

Daihatsu D-R Concept

Unfortunately, unlike the Honda S660 concept, we have no idea what the new Daihatsu Copen will look like… The image at the top of this post is of the old Copen. We don’t even know for sure that we’ll see it before the end of 2013.  It seems reasonable to assume that we’ll get a concept or prototype at next month’s Tokyo Motor Show, but no official premiere date has been set.

If you do happen to hear any news about the new Daihatsu Copen, please feel free to send us a tip. Current questions that the automotive blogosphere can’t answer include:

  • Will the new Daihatsu Copen be built to Japan’s kei regulations?
  • There are rumors that Toyota may help produce the next Copen in order to adopt the final product into their own lineup, is this true? (Given that Daihatsu is a Toyota subsidiary, that would seem likely)
  • Will the next-gen Copen be the evolved version of the D-R Concept?

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below, and come back tomorrow for more Japanese car news!

Thanks for reading!


Japanese Cars From the Fringes of the Detroit Auto Show – Day 3 Round Up

Posted by Stephen On Thursday, January 17th, 2013

Today is the third and final day that we will be breaking news on the Detroit Auto Show. The final press-exclusive unveilings have all gone off without a hitch, and soon the auto show will be opened up to the general public.

As you continue reading, we’re going to cover four Japanese cars that almost fell through the cracks… These cars didn’t get much press because they’re either not first-time world premieres or they’re not relevant to a global market. But, since we’re dedicated to keeping the Japanese car enthusiast fully informed it’s important for us to cover the wayside vehicles, too.

Nissan’s “Guilt Free” Sports Car Concept

To be fair, this future concept doesn’t actually exist yet, but this is the first time we’ve heard that Nissan has definite plans to create an eco-friendly sports car targeted towards a younger audience. It’s something that we know Nissan has been thinking about for almost 7 years, so keep your eyes open for this over the course of 2013.

Nissan didn’t give us much more than that, but it did say that the “love it or hate it” sports car will sit between the Nissan GT-R and Nissan Z coupe in the model lineup. Let’s just hope it doesn’t look like this.

Source: Car and Driver

2014 Nissan Versa Note

Again, this vehicle didn’t get very much press because it’s technically only new to the US market. The rest of the world has been enjoying an almost identical vehicle – named just the Nissan Note – for about a year now. The US-exclusive Versa model is intended to bring the American market a budget-friendly version of the internationally successful Note.

The semi-new five-door 2014 Versa Note will be based on Nissan’s existing “V” platform used in the Versa sedan, and will start at a little over $14,000. Overall, skepticism is high for this vehicle because of a supposedly poor interior design and a price point that puts it too close to the Honda Fit. That being said, the Nissan Versa lineup sells fairly well in the US, so the press could definitely be proven wrong.

Source: Car and Driver

Acura RLX

The Acura RLX officially premiered at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show, so it’s no surprise that this vehicle didn’t see very much coverage. However, the only reason that Acura brought the RLX to the Detroit Auto Show was to drum up some pre-release hype and announce a launch date/pricing for the Japanese manufacturer’s new flagship sedan. And that’s exactly what they accomplished.

While the Acura RLX may not be quite as newsworthy as the other vehicles in its class at the Detroit Auto Show like the Lexus IS and Infiniti Q50, it is more directly relevant. The new RLX will officially hit the market on March 15 with a price tag between $40,000 and $61,000 depending on just how fancy you want to get.

Source: Carscoop

Daihatsu Copen (Maybe)

The Japanese-exclusive manufacturer Daihatsu allowed Aisin (a transmission manufacturer) to bring what appears to be a Copen to the Detroit Auto Show. Unfortunately, coverage of this super compact vehicle known for its forward design and extreme fun-factor was limited to a photo that looks like it was taken by an iPhone.

It’s a mystery why a Daihatsu Copen would make an appearance at the NAIAS, as Daihatsu is officially withdrawing from the European market at the end of this month and production of the Copen ceased during April of last year. It’s for this reason that I would be willing to bet that the doorless “Copen” we saw at the NAIAS was actually a concept for the 2013 Daihatsu D-R that we know is in the works. This seems especially likely since the enormous LCD screen matches what we know about the D-R.

But if they did resurrect the Copen, there would be no complaining here!

Source: The Truth About Cars

Well, that’ll wrap up our thorough coverage of Japanese cars at the Detroit Auto Show. Come back tomorrow for a summary look back at the big hits and big letdowns of the Detroit Auto Show that you won’t want to miss!


Toyota And Daihatsu Aim At Stellar Sales With Agya / Ayla Twin Billing

Posted by Stephen On Saturday, October 6th, 2012

With Toyota leading Japanese automaker sales (and world-wide sales recently), the number one car company is looking to bring a little bit of its success to its subsidiary, Daihatsu. Whether this works or not is yet to be seen, but if Toyota’s recent sales numbers are any indication of how their company’s vision is being implemented, it sure looks like Daihatsu is poised to take advantage of it.

At the recent Indonesia International Motor Show, Daihatsu showed off three concepts: the D-R, the D-X and the UFC. But while these stellar concept cars have been seen (in part) before at the Tokyo Auto Show last year, the big news surrounding the company was the Ayla, all set for local launch.

Toyota Agya TRD-S model

The Ayla is a mini five-door made for the city. Measuring in at just over 3.5 meters (11 ½ feet), the Ayla comes exclusively with a 1.0-liter, three-cylinder gasoline engine. While small, this car still packs a 65 horsepower engine along with 64 pounds per foot (87Nm) of peak torque. While this is nothing groundbreaking in and of itself, the fact that it is being announced at a time when Toyota is doing so well shows the expansionist mindset that the company is taking: a sure sign that optimism has taken hold once again, bolstered by strong numbers.

The Twins: Alya and Alga

But perhaps what makes the Daihatsu Alya so intriguing is the fact that Toyota joined the Alya at the Indonesian Auto Show with its twin car, the Agya. Releasing twin cars isn’t something that’s unheard of, but when a subsidiary of an industry giant does so, it should make people sit up and take notice. The implications of the sales to come are far too great for investors to not pay attention; the Daihatsu Alya and Toyota Agya aren’t just cars, they’re business statements.

The Agya was built by Daihatsu as part of an OEM agreement between the two automakers. The two cars are nearly identical with the only difference being that the front bumper and grilled designs are different.

However, the Toyota Agya will offer a TRD S version of the car which will be fitted with a mild aero package that consists of front and rear aprons, side skirts and alloy wheels. Toyota’s aero package will also come with interior upgrades, but nothing off the wall. Toyota’s Agya will keep the 1.0-liter, three-cylinder gasoline engine for both versions of the Agya.

So, the big question is: just how connected are these two cars going to be in terms of sales? If Toyota has anything to say in it, the answer is: very. It seems like Toyota can’t make a wrong move lately; we think it’s safe to say that this trend is going to pass on to Daihatsu; after all, what are twin siblings for?


Nissan’s Moco Kei Car Improves “Idling Stop” To Get 27.2 km / L

Posted by Stephen On Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

Nissan has improved the fuel efficiency of it’s kei car Moco, as well as evolving the “idling stop” technology with sales starting on May 15th in Japan.

Improvements in both the engine and CVT transmission efficiency see the regular X and S versions of the Moco improve to 23.2 km/L, but it is the “idling stop” tech found on the appropriately named X Idling Stop and S Idling Stop models that boosts this further to 27.2 km / L.

Nissan Moco kei car

Nissan Moco

“Idling stop” simply means that when the brake pedal is depressed to slow the car down at speeds of 9 km / h or less, the engine is stopped so that the car coasts without using any fuel. When the driver wants to accelerate, the car automatically restarts then engine.

The basic Moco model sells for 1,089,900 Yen, and all versions except the G 4WD model will qualify for varying levels of Eco Car tax incentives. The range is topped off with a special Autech-spec version with special body kit enhancements and high levels of standard equipment for 1,289,400 Yen.

Nissan Moco G Aerostyle Autech Version

Nissan Moco G Aerostyle Autech Version

It seems to me that although Nissan has made some improvements here, I cannot see how they are going to make headway against competition from Daihatsu’s Mira e:S which is both significantly cheaper, and also gets much better fuel economy.

Source: Zaikei (Japanese-language)


Hybrids Now 16% of Market in Japan as Prius Wins Annual Sales Crown Again

Posted by Stephen On Friday, April 6th, 2012

Let’s get this Prius story out the way first so we can get to the really interesting stuff: Toyota’s Prius is number one for something or other …  again. This time, it’s retained it’s crown as Japan’s best-selling car in the 2011 financial year (April 2011 through end of March 2012) making it a third straight win in a row.

OK, nuff said. Now let’s get behind the headlines to where the real juicy stuff is:

First up, there is the fact that hybrid cars in Japan now account for 16% of all new car sales. To put that in perspective, hybrids make up just 2.2% of US new car sales *. That’s over 7 times as many hybrids sold in Japan, proportionately!

Of course, a tail wind of government incentives helps out some, but the gap between these figures demonstrates the huge gulf in driving culture and conditions between Japan and the US. (Compare the mix of vehicles in the Japan new car sales chart below with the Top 20 Vehicles chart for the US from the WSJ and you’ll see what I mean.)

And here’s something else you won’t find in the US — kei cars. While America loves big, Japan goes for small. Look at the rankings and you will spot that half of the top ten are kei vehicles.

And out of these keis  one in particular is really motoring: Check out the Daihatsu Mira in the stats below. Sure, it’s in 4th place, but the acceleration …  up 99.5% over last year? Not even a Veyron can go that quick.

Must be their much-vaunted Mira e:S hybrid-level fuel economy that costs just 800,000 Yen that’s moving that model up. The Mira could easily take out the WagonR 3rd in 2012 if the current trend continues.

Here’s the top 10 new car models sold in Japan in the 2011 financial year:

  1. Toyota Prius = 310,484 units (9.6% increase)
  2. Honda Fit = 234,432 units (23.8% increase)
  3. Suzuki WagonR = 174,225 units (1.7% decrease)
  4. Daihatsu Mira = 171,301 units (99.5% increase)
  5. Daihatsu Move = 144,398 units (4.7% increase)
  6. Daihtasu Tanto = 139,332 units (17.5% decrease)
  7. Toyota Vitz = 125,663 units (1.9% decrease)
  8. Nissan Serena = 93,755 units (31.1% increase)
  9. Suzuki Alto = 92,992 units (2% decrease)
  10. Honda Freed = 90,414 units (0.7% decrease)

* This 2.2% figure was calculated by comparing the figure for hybrid car sales from HybridCars.com (below) with the 2011 total new car sales from Fox (below).

Sources: Asahi (Japanese) Fox News, HybridCar.com


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)