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Japanese Kei Car - Tetsu's Tale

Straight outta J-Pan. Engrish from our man in Japan. Read if you dare.

Jan 11, 2010

Maximum length is 133.62in. Maximum width is 58.16in. Engine is 0.66-liter. Maximum power is 64ps. That is Japanese Kei (or K) car. Kei stands for lightweight in Japanese Kanji. K-car is very popular in Japan. K-car has three/five door hatchback, mini-van, convertible and truck. In mid-90s, Honda, Suzuki and Mazda were selling sport K-cars.

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Honda Beat (1991-1994), two-seater, mid-ship rear wheel drive is still popular and many people want Honda sell new Beat now. Daihatsu Copen convertible is only one Kei-sport car now but Copen is front engine front drive, which is so pity. Mitsubishi is testing Mitsubishi i-MiVE, electric car in USA. That's base model is Mitsubishi's Kei-car, "i". I think it is hard to see any Kei-cars in USA but Daihatsu was selling Kei-car truck, Hijet in USA. I am not sure that is for public street or closed area. I saw Daihatsu Hijet on "Pimp My Ride", MTV.

Some tuning magazines say about Kei-car tuning. Kei-cars event and Kei-cars endurance race are becoming popular in Japan. Kei-cars are low price. It is easy to find under $10,000 USD of used or new Kei-cars. The tuning parts for Kei-cars are cheaper than the tuning parts for over 1.6-liter cars. Kei-cars are fuel saving cars and car tax is cheap. It is possible to build tuning Kei-car, which can make over 180hp and make 14 seconds on quarter mile racing. That's sounds like dangerous 180hp Kei-car is not for street legal.

Kei-car truck (Kei-truck) is very popular for farmer, bicycle/motorcycle shop in Japan. Now, some tuning magazines say about Kei-truck tuning. The people enjoy to customize Kei-truck and do quarter mile racing, driving on the closed race track and drifting. Kei-truck have mid-ship rear wheel layout. Subaru's Kei-truck Samber, have rear-engine rear wheel drive. That is same as NSX! But only 0.66-liter engine. Some tuning shops are selling body kit, coilover and roll cages. Cusco is selling LSD for Kei-truck. Some owners of tuning Kei-truck put Greddy E-manage system or HKS F-CON V Pro, turbocharger, superchager, GT-wing and titanium exhaust system. Do you think Kei-truck or Kei-car tuning is stupid? Owners of tuning Kei-cars/truck don't say "bad world economic" or "I have no money".

Kei-cars in tuning market is still small and not enough tuning parts but they are thinking a lot and making any idea for Kei-car tuning with low price. Low price is keyword for Japanese Kei-cars tuning world. Any people can build good tuning car if you pay much money for new parts and customizing. It go to the junk- yard or Home Depot and you hit on an idea for tuning and making tuning parts is chance to making your good tuning skill.



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