Daihatsu Shows Us Just How Adorable Kei Cars Can Be With 4 Concepts At Tokyo

Kei cars can do everything from ferrying people to camping outdoors

  • The production models based on the concepts will only be sold in Japan.
  • They are purpose-built to traverse narrow city and town lanes.
  • Showcases designs for people and goods carriers as well as a mini-SUV for camping.

The 46th Tokyo Motor Show features new vehicles from Daihatsu that are likely to never make their way to our shores. Each of them is a testament to the Japanese sense of humour and the ability of the Toyota subsidiary to create purpose-built vehicles tailor-made for Japan. The four Daihatsu concepts exhibited at the show covered different segments and niches with one common theme - their diminutive size. While the production models like the Gazoo Racing Copen and Toyota Rise-based Rocky SUV have international appeal, the delight of the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show lies in its Kei cars. Here are all the Daihatsu concept cars from the show. 


Need a camper van but don’t have the parking space for it? The WakuWaku is a hatchback-mini-SUV concept which comes with various features and cubbies to make packing for a camping trip more fun than ever. It features a split tailgate - the lower half can be used as a bench or as a step to boost you up to the overhead storage compartment. The upper half of the tailgate opens sideways and offers a wide hatch area. The WakuWaku has four doors but is most practical as a two-seater. If it ever comes to our shores, the WakuWaku will be an ideal and possibly less expensive mini-SUV to the ones offered currently (think Kwid, S-Presso and KUV100) and could also spawn more purpose-built small cars. 


Japanese van trucks have a cult following around the world, but the TsumuTsumu isn’t based on a van. Instead, it looks like a one-third replica of a regular single-cab truck. The bed in the concept is a launch pad for a large drone, but the TsumuTsumu will come with a variety of bed designs. The cab of this truck comes with numerous cubby spaces, like the panels behind the doors. The passenger seat folds to offer a flat table next to the driver.


The Daihatsu WaiWai concept is a minivan targeted towards parents. It has three rows of seats, sliding rear doors, and a two-part sliding canvas sunroof.  It features a cab-forward design that looks awkward from some angles but opens up a lot of room on the inside. The outer door handles have Tesla-esque hinges, and the boot has useable space even with the third-row seats up. The dashboard features a wide digital display which runs along the entire width of the cabin. Daihatsu’s mini-minivan is a marvel of automotive packaging, with thin seats and an open, minimalistic, and modern interior. 


The IcoIco is a mini city bus concept by Daihatsu which features sliding seats and room to accommodate a wheelchair. An app for the IcoIco enables people in the city to request a pickup using their phone. The design of the bus allows for a low floor, but the IcoIco also has a retractable ramp to ease ingress and egress through the wide-opening doors. The mini-bus concept shows a variety of technologies which would be useful in people carriers of the future. 

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