Kei car (or keijidōsha, kanji: 軽自動車, "light automobile", pronounced [keːdʑidoːɕa]), known variously outside Japan as Japanese city car, ultramini, or Japanese microcar, is the Japanese vehicle category for the smallest highway-legal passenger cars. Similar Japanese categories exist for microvans, and kei trucks. These vehicles are most often the Japanese equivalent of the EU A-segment (city cars).
The kei-car category was created by the Japanese government in 1949, and the regulations have been revised several times since. These regulations specify a maximum vehicle size, engine capacity, and power output, so that owners may enjoy both tax and insurance benefits. In most rural areas they are also exempted from the requirement to certify that adequate parking is available for the vehicle.
Kei cars have become very successful in Japan, consisting of over one-third of domestic new-car sales in fiscal 2016, despite dropping from a record 40% market share in 2013, after the government increased the kei-car tax by 50% in 2014. In 2018, seven of the 10 top-selling models were kei cars, including the top four, all boxy passenger vans: Honda N-Box, Suzuki Spacia, Nissan Dayz, and Daihatsu Tanto. Isuzu is the only manufacturer that has never offered a kei-sized vehicle for either private ownership or commercial trucks and microvans.
In export markets, though, the genre is generally too specialized and too small for most models to be profitable. Notable exceptions exist, though, for instance the Suzuki Alto and Jimny models, which were exported consistently from around 1980. Kei cars are not only popular with the elderly, but they are also popular with youths because of their affordability.
Nearly all kei cars have been designed and manufactured in Japan, but a version of the French-made Smart was briefly imported and officially classified as a kei car, and since then, the British Caterham 7 160 has also received such classification.
- "Kei Car" | 2021-09-04 | 139 Upvotes 179 Comments
The Toyota Century (Japanese: トヨタ・センチュリー, Hepburn: Toyota Senchurī) is a limousine produced mainly for the Japanese market, serving as Toyota's flagship car within Japan; globally the unrelated Lexus LS series is Toyota's flagship luxury model. Production of the Century began in 1967, and the model received only minor changes until redesigns in 1997 and 2018.
The Century derived its name from the 100th birthday of Sakichi Toyoda (born 14 February 1867), the founder of Toyota Industries. It is often used by the Imperial House of Japan, the Prime Minister of Japan, senior Japanese government leaders, and high-level executive businessmen. The Century is comparable in purpose to the Austin Princess/Daimler DS420, Cadillac Series 70, Mercedes-Benz 600 series, Chinese Red Flag, Rolls-Royce, and Russian ZIS/ZIL limousines.
The first-generation Century was available with only a V8 engine (the third post-war Japanese-built sedan so-equipped) at its introduction in 1967 until a full platform redesign in 1997. The second generation was only installed with a Toyota-designed and -built V12, an engine bespoke to the Century, until 2018, when the power-train reverted to a V8 with the addition of Toyota's hybrid technology.
While the Century is a premium, full-size luxury sedan, it is not available at Japanese Lexus dealerships; it can only be purchased at specifically identified Toyota Store locations. The gold phoenix logo used throughout is called the Hō'ō (鳳凰) or Fushichō (不死鳥) from Sinospheric mythology, representing the Imperial House of Japan, and the image can be found throughout Asia, such as the Kinkaku-ji in Kyoto.
The exterior styling of the Century has, with some modifications, remained unchanged since its introduction, primarily due to its perception as denoting conservative success. Its appearance is iconic in Asian countries and is usually painted black. The closest Japanese competitor was the Nissan President, with a similar status reputation although, during the 1960s and '70s, the high market positioning was also shared with the Mitsubishi Debonair. In the 1970s, two other Japanese competitors introduced large sedans — the Isuzu Statesman de Ville and the Mazda Roadpacer (both derived from General Motors-Australia products) — which were short-lived.
- "Toyota Century" | 2022-09-12 | 12 Upvotes 2 Comments