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Toyota is looking to get bigger... by going smaller. The Japanese automaker is looking to enter the kei car market, a popular segment in its homeland. Kei cars are small vehicles with restrictions on length (11.15 feet), width (4.86 feet), engine size (660 cubic centimeters) and power output (63 horsepower). Currently, Toyota is the only Japanese automaker not producing vehicles for this segment, but that is set to change, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal.
Thanks to its relationship with Daihatsu, Toyota can jump right into the kei car game. Daihatsu is one of the largest producer of kei vehicles and it is currently owned by Toyota.

Although kei cars are restricted in terms of size and power, they are not restricted by technology. Automakers utilize different drive configurations, powertrains and amenities to keep their cars fresh. Daihatsu and Toyota plan to work together to produce Toyota-branded kei cars. The two companies will utilize Toyota's knowledge of electric and hybrid systems to produce efficient little vehicles for the Japanese market.

[Source: The Wall Street Journal]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      ....They do in fact already own daihatsu, what's the point of selling Toyota branded Kei cars?
        • 4 Years Ago
        This seems to counter VW's challenge to Toyota's worldwide sales domination...now with VW owning 20% of mini/kei car king...Suzuk(e)i!
      • 4 Years Ago
      I get a kick out of kei cars.

      I wish that we had some here, too bad monster SUVs would run them over if broadsided.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "Currently, Toyota is the only Japanese automaker not producing vehicles for this segment.."

        Add Nissan and Mazda to that list...Mitsubishi makes OEM "badge engineered" kei cars for Nissan. Also, both have kei car deals....manufactured by kei car king Suzuki.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I've seen a few kei trucks at big universities in the US and golf courses. non-street-legal of course.

        they show up on ebay from time to time.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @ savagemike

        I think you missed the point here.

        I was trying to imply what would happen when a distracted soccermom with her 1 child piloting a Suburban plowed into a kei car.

        Of course you are safer in a vehicle (of any kind) if you get hit compared to if you were on a scooter/motorcycle/on foot.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I think the arguments of 'what would happen in an accident' are over played.
        People ride scooters, and bikes, and motorcycles - and walk - constantly around larger vehicles.
        A car this small offers protection many times the level of any of those activities.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Even mid-size sedans would incinerate them. To be honest, the smallest we'll ever get from Toyota will probably be the Yaris or iQ.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'm actually surprised that they are not already in the kei market.
      • 4 Years Ago
      an electric aerodynamic Kei could be 'big'. basically like a Loremo.
      lean and performance. no reason why it couldn't have Ferrari beating acceleration nor does a Kei have to look like an ugly toy car.
      try Le Mans prototype styling.