I surprise that the best selling luxury car in US is Tesla Model S; that is better than Mercedes Benz S and BMW 7 series. Electric Vehicle is number one? American rich people are thinking about environment? The top 10 best selling Japanese cars in April 2013 says number one is Daihastu Move, followed by Toyota Prius, Toyota Aqua, Honda N-BOX, Suzuki Wagon-R....most of these are Kei cars. Japanese Kei cars are 660cc motor-powered and roughly the same size as a Smart Fortwo. Some Americans might think American car sales is bad in Japan because our government protects the Kei car market, because of the car tax system. Our taxes are determined by various engine sizes, for example: 2.0L is $395USD, $500 for 5.0L but 660cc Kei car is only $72USD. We worry about our economy, and since the big earthquake/tsunami, we don’t spend much money for cars. Our streets are narrow as well—just try to find a parking space in Japan and you will understand why Kei car is popular. Even my Honda Fit is limited. Some people say Kei car is poor man’s car but that is wrong. Four adults can take one Kei car and some even come with expensive audio, navigation, ABS, AWD, SRS airbag, Recaro seats and Bilstein suspension. The Kei car tuning market is becoming popular because the parts are cheaper. Kei car endurance racing is popular in Japan. Daihatsu Copen/Mira, Honda Beat, Mazda AZ-1, Suzuki Cappuccino are very popular platforms to tune, but the Copen, Beat, AZ-1 and Cappuccino are no longer in production. Daihatsu and Honda have been paying attention, though, and will sell a new Copen and new Beat (respectively) next year; I’m not sure if Kei cars will ever be sold in USA or not but they are in UK. Some guys import them but the insurance is more expensive than Subaru WRX! The seven best selling Kei cars in Japan are not for sport tuning, and that doesn’t mean 86 or STI owners will go sell their cars for Kei cars. Toyota 86 is still number one selling sports coupe in Japan and customized Kei car is just one more example of how Japanese like to style their cars.
Tetsus Tales September 2013