Keijidōsha - KEconomIcal Cars

Thread Starter #1
Mar 19, 2011
future city
We may come across the word Kei car countless time whether in magazines or even in our forum TAI.

So question arises What is this Kei car or Keijidōsha?
(Third generation Suzuki Wagon R)
To know the answer we must go back in time to a period just after World war 2 ended. Japan's economy was in tatters and most of people in Japan could not offord even a motorcycle.
In order to promote the growth of the car industry, as well as to offer an alternative delivery method to small business and shop owners, kei car standards were created.

These Kei vehicles are available as a small commercial vehicle a la Tata ACE like and also as small car like Wagon R.In 1990s there was aboomof Kei sports car like Suzuki cappuvccino roduced from 1991 to 1998

(Suzuki cappuccino)

(Diahatsu Copen)
Until recently, Kei cars were a way around some laws. They were originally exempt from emissions testing, insurance requirements and even parking regulations that required people to show that they own or rent a legal parking space before they can register the vehicle.But now all cars whether kei cars or larger cars all have same rules but Insurance and tax benefit and most importantly manoeuvrability in tight space with good space have made them very popular in Japan.
Subaru Sambar

( Subaru Hi Jet )

So whats special rules for these cars? -
To start with the Number plate - Yellow background with black letters for private Kei cars and vice versa for commercial Kei cars.
Japanese_black_on_yellow_license_plate.png Japanese_yellow_on_black_license_plate.png
Then there is restriction in Engine size which now stands at 660cc.However no restriction on forced induction, turbocharging, supercharging and type of transmission.
lastly the size is resticted to 3.4 meters in length 1.48 meters in width and and 2meter in height.

( Japanese Suzuki alto)

New rules since 1998 regarding engine size and overall increase in dimension was to aid high-speed performance and the increased weight of new safety equipment, which has also necessitated a slightly larger body.

Source for:

  • Information - Wikipedia ,New York Times
  • Pictures - Wikipedia
Last edited:

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