Posts Tagged ‘mira e:s’

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 (below) with the 2011 total new car sales from Fox (below).

Sources: Asahi (Japanese) Fox News,

Japan’s January Car Sales Ranking Driven By Hybrids and Kei Cars

Posted by Stephen On Thursday, February 9th, 2012

Japan’s January car sales rankings have just been announced — and the effect of the December decision by the government to get behind the EcoCar tax incentive scheme (100k Yen for a hybrid, 70k Yen for a kei car) can be clearly seen.

Every model in the top ten has either a hybrid or kei car driving its sales. Take a look …

Rank Model Maker Number of Vehicles YOY Change
1 Prius Toyota 29108 2.1 times more
2 Fit Honda 21449 44.2% more
3 Mira Daihatsu 19795 3.8 times more
4 Freed Honda 14042 2.7 times more
5 Aqua Toyota 13485 (New model)
6 WagonR Suzuki 12442 11.9% more
7 Move Daihatsu 12384 12.8% less
8 Tanto Daihatsu 11603 8.5% more
9 N Box Honda 9934 (New model)
10 Alto Suzuki 8967 24.9% more

And if you look closely, what else do you see?

Well here’s a few things that just jump right out at me…

First of all the amazing start to Toyota Aqua sales. This is a new hybrid model that’s the only compact hatchback on the list. It comes out of nowhere with sales starting at the end of last year, and already it has clawed its way up to 5th position. I think Toyota has a hit on their hands here. Can they make enough to keep up with demand when the rest of the world gets their hands on it later this year as the Prius c?

This is a car that has the amazing ability to get even better mileage than a Prius, at an even lower price. Toyota has discovered that if the price is right and the car is frugal enough, at least in Japan size is not so much of an issue.

Sticking with Toyota for my second realization, take a look at how much of the top 10 territory is occupied either by Toyota or Daihatsu models. That’s right – half of the top ten best sellers are made by one or other of these manufactures. Except they are not really two separate entities are they? Daihatsu is a Toyota group company.

Now that’s what I call market dominance.

Finally there are two manufactures who are very conspicuous by their absence – Mazda and Nissan.

Mazda execs must be kicking themselves for coming up with as elegant a technological solution as the Skyactiv engine, when it is neither a hybrid or a kei car engine  — in other words it doesn’t give consumers the Ecocar incentive that hybrids and kei cars have. This clearly shows how the Japanese government has distorted the market by picking technologies to reward, rather than looking at underlying fuel frugality.

Nissan, on the other hand, must be crossing their fingers and living in hope of a distant future where all cars are electric, and their early transition to EVs has paid off in market dominance.

Let’s tune in again next month to see how they are all faring.

Source: Tokyo Shinbun (Japanese)

Japan New Car Sales Up First Time in 14 Months

Posted by Stephen On Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

Japan’s October 2011 new car sales showed an increase of 25% over the previous year, when including sales of both regular passenger and kei cars.

Among the individual manufacturers, Toyota saw a 20.4% rise, and Honda an increase of 19.4%. The kei segment produced the greatest increase with an overall gain of 28.3% with Daihatsu’s new Mira e:S propelling the company to a 29.9% increase over the same time last year.

It is important to bear in mind in all this that September 2010 was the last month that the Japanese government’s EcoCar incentive applied, prompting a slump in October 2010 sales – but particularly hitting Toyota and Honda, whose hybrid cars had seen most benefit from this subsidy.

So the baseline for this month’s YOY growth figures is the very low stats set last October. In this light, Toyota and Honda’s seeming “rebound” does not seem so remarkable. And in contrast, Daihatsu’s performance is absolutely superlative since it was not as dependent on the EcoCar incentive in the first place, so its almost 30% gain in sales is a genuine leap.

The figures also show that the supply chain has now recovered from the effects of March’s earthquake. The only cloud on the horizon now is the production lost as a result of the recent flooding in Thailand.

Source: Nikkei

Daihatsu Mira e:S Order Book Explodes

Posted by Stephen On Thursday, October 6th, 2011

Back in July, I wrote about the new Daihatsu Mira e:S that achieves an almost hybrid-level of fuel economy (30 km / l) and yet at 795,000 Yen is less than half of the cost of the hybrid standard – the Toyota Prius. Of course, it is a kei car, which means it is not as large as the Toyota and has its engine size limited to 660CC, but that has not stopped it gaining a lot of attention in the Japanese media.

The result has been that this is Daihatsu’s most successful launch ever: In just two weeks, they have booked orders for 25,000 cars, which is 3.6 times as many as they were aiming to sell per month. To put this in perspective, Daihatsu’s previous number one hit launch (the Tanto in December 2007) achieved sales of 24,000 units – but this was over the whole first month after launch. At this rate the Mira e:S is on course to reach double that figure.

Source: Nikkei (Japanese language)