Kei Truck / Mini Truck Overview
What is a Kei truck (Mini Truck)
Trucks with a maximum loading capacity of 350 kg or less are called Mini trucks (called Kei trucks in Japan). In the early days of its release, it was used for commercial purposes. Kei trucks can comfortably drive on narrow, unmaintained roads such as forest roads deep in the mountains. Also, Japanese Kei trucks can also be used in everyday life because it is also very well-designed.
If you come to Japan, you will see kei trucks running in the countryside which they use for farming. In the US, until the early 2000s, kei trucks were banned from driving. On the other hand, they were used by golf courses and in the military.
In 2015, the law allowed Japanese used kei trucks that have been in production for 25 years to be driven on public roads. In 2018, 21 states across the U.S. enacted "mini-truck state laws" that allow the behavior to be driven under certain restrictions. With this kind of deregulation, used kei trucks are becoming more and more popular in the US.
Honda, Suzuki, and Daihatsu are the only three manufacturers that produce kei trucks themselves. Subaru Sambar is the only one in the kei truck market with a four-cylinder engine, and also has an adapted Rear Engine Rear Drive.
The Honda Acty is an adapted Mid-Ship Engine Rear Drive. And about Mitsubishi minicab truck, the popular engine is the Four-cylinder 20-valve engine. As you can see, each model has its own unique characteristics.
Suzuki Carry Truck is the most traditional car model along with Daihatsu. Because of these accomplishments, it has won the trust of the Japanese users. The drive is front-engine, rear-wheel drive.
Daihatsu Hijet Truck has comfortable reclining seats and doors that open wide for easy entry and exit. It has been the top-selling car for 11 consecutive years since 2010 until 2020.
Usage in Japan
In Japan, kei trucks are mainly used for farming. Kei trucks are used in many situations, such as moving small loads, transporting vegetables at farms, and transporting goods at retail stores. Kei trucks are also inexpensive to maintain and can be driven with a standard driver's license in Japan. Kei trucks are available in a variety of drive systems, such as 2WD and 4WD, and there are also special types, such as electric vehicles, that allow them to run smoothly even when carrying heavy loads.
Usage in the USA
The United States is one of the most popular and famous countries for importing mini trucks. However, the usage is a different compared to Japanese mini trucks.
In the US, mini trucks are very popular with those who want a unique vehicle that is different from cars made in the USA. It is easy to image that mini trucks are a small version of a pickup truck. Mini trucks are very small, can be parked in a variety of locations, and are ideal for farmers and others who want a fuel-efficient vehicle. The small body is unusual for the U.S., and many users use it as a hobby car.