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Kei cars are a class of small cars in Japan which have a length limit of 3.4 meters, a width limit of 1.48 meters and height limit of 2 meters. The Kei car class was created (and given tax breaks) as a way to beef up the domestic auto industry after the second world war. According to the kei-cars.com FAQ, mileage of 40-60 MPG, which you would expect from such a tiny car, is common for these vehicles.

Kei cars are popular in Japan today and, as you can see in the video below the fold, the cars are even popular in Canada where Japanoid Imports are allowed to import them after 15 years. They look like toys and are right hand drive but no one seems to mind. The equivalent car to American or Europe would be the micro or city cars.

I though the cars might be powered by a large metal wind-up key or possibly rolling it backwards storing energy in a spring. Turns out they use 660 cc engine or 47 KW electric engines in a variety of drive trains including gas, full electrics and hybrids.

[Source: New York Times, YouTube]


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      • 6 Years Ago
      At age 74 i have traveled o/a 150,000 miles on a bicycle...I believe that travel in a kei type vehicle might be a bit more safe than a bike. In Europe the scooters are every where..their speed seems to be very rapid. I do not know of their accident rate?? Ban cell phones while driving and we all would be more safe!!!
      • 7 Years Ago
      Being a Canadian and having seen a few of these imported kei cars for sale, I must say I wouldn't exactly give them a ringing endorsement. I'm all for small cars, but these kei cars just don't give one a feeling of being safe in them. The panels are thin and there is precious little to keep any vehicle that hits you from landing on your lap. While the Smart is also a small car, it has a much greater feeling of substance to it plus its safety cell. Of course, the kei cars we see in Canada are all at least 15 years old. I'm sure considerable safety improvements have been made for newer models on sale in Japan, but from what I can see that's been imported into Canada, all I can say is "yikes!". It may work in Japan where people don't drive as far or as fast, but I wouldn't trust a family member in one on our roads with the way people drive these days.
      • 7 Years Ago
      actually, the nissan s-cargo pictured isn't exactly a kei car, nor the figaro. both were based on the larger nissan march, and were powered by 1 liter engines.