2023 Author: Eric Donovan | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-08-25 09:36
They are called Nissan Cube, Honda Mobilo, Daihatsu Move or Nissan Clipper and they populate the streets of the Japanese metropolises by the hundreds of thousands. You cannot win a beauty award with any of the cube-shaped vehicles. But they are not only all the rage in Tokyo.
By Stefan Grundhoff
The Japanese have a strange taste in cars, at least from the point of view of the common European. On the one hand, Asians love the Porsche 911, BMW M3 and Mercedes S-Class; covet home cars like Nissan Skyline and Mitsubishi Lancer Evo. But there is another way. In hardly any other car market in the world is the practicability of mobile pedestals as important as on the streets of Nippon. In addition to exclusive sports cannons, small and micro cars as well as mini, micro and maxi vans populate the Japanese streets like ants. Its windshields, headlight units and side walls stretch almost vertically into the sky. The tires are tiny, the vehicle dimensions barely larger.
Most of the city runabouts are kei cars with the mandatory yellow number plates, which secure tax breaks and make it easier for you to find a parking space. In contrast to the larger cars, you do not have to provide proof of your own parking space in the city center for a kei car. In a city like Tokyo, that easily saves 200 to 500 euros per month. Technically, the kei cars are completely normal cars, just very small. The Kai-Car engines have less than 660 cubic centimeters and outputs of mostly less than 70 hp. The inexpensive small cars, which were first introduced in 1949, were also not allowed to be longer than 3.40 meters. But for many of those Japanese who cannot afford any of the exclusive sports cars or luxury limousines from Europe, the small city runabouts are just the thing. New trend vehicles such as the Nissan Cube are also square, practical and small, but drive in the normal league above the kei cars.
Most city vans not only drive with a gauge that is reminiscent of H0 model railways, but also have at least one sliding door that makes it easier to get in and out of the narrow lanes. In Japan, leather seats are mostly reserved for the absolute luxury sedans. Especially the domestic brands below Lexus LS or Nissan President rely on comfortable seats made of soft flocked velor. If it should be particularly elegant, the backrests and headrests are adorned with neat crocheted doilies, which make the bobble dog and foxtail an obligatory feature in our latitudes. In addition to the normal standard equipment, the dashboard is usually adorned with an oversized screen with a digital TV module and lavish map navigation. After all, in most cities you like to be stuck in traffic for a few hours every day. You want to be entertained.
Overpopulated inner cities
More than a third of all cars registered in Japan are kei cars. The 1990s in particular gave the increasingly overpopulated inner cities of Japan another strong boost for approvals and acceptance. While the small cars were long decried as lame city vehicles, turbocharging got the most out of the small-volume engines. Speeds of over 8,000 tours are no problem for the sporty small cars. The largest supplier of kei cars on the Japanese market is Daihatsu, which is available in the larger "small" classes. and ?? standard ?? hardly offer vehicles. Toyota, the market leader in the Far East, does not offer any kei cars at all.
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