***** (K|C|F) *****
[ C a r s ]
The Saloon Car in the early years was referred to as a Sedan (セダン). American English has had a big influence on the Japanese language, and still does today. The Japanese language has different levels of politeness as does the word for car. The correct Japanese for motor-car in order of politeness is ‘jidōsha‘ (自動車) lit: self-propelled vehicle, less polite is ‘kuruma‘ (車) lit: vehicle or cart and least polite (rough) is ‘kaa‘ (カー). Oddly, a Volkswagon Beatle is considered a sports car in Japan !!
The Kei car or ‘K-car’/’kei jidōsha’ (軽自動車) lit: ‘light‘ car has preferential rates of tax and insurance and in rural areas they are exempt from the requirement to provide proof of a parking place. In towns and cities, some roads are marked for kei-cars only, as well as certain car parks. After World War II, the kei car was born as the public car in a government directive similar to that of the Volkswagon Beatle, in order to provide a cheap mass produced peoples car. The engineers of the Nakajima Aircraft Company (中島 飛行機 株式会社) developed the first truly successful kei-car, the Suzuki Suzulight of 1955. The Subaru 360 was next to follow suit in 1958.
1955 Suzulight: 1958 Subaru 360:
1960 Mazda 360:
An estate-car, takes the American use of station wagon ‘suteeshon-wagon‘ (ステーション·ワゴン) or more commonly just ‘wagon‘ (ワゴン) which is confusing to the English as a wagon is a truck in England. A Hatchback is a ‘hacchibakku‘ (ハッチ·バック), a Truck is a ‘torakku‘ (トラック), a Pickup is a ‘kogata torakku‘ (小型トラック) or more simply a ‘pikkuappu‘ (ピックアップ), a Light Truck is a ‘kei-tora‘ (軽トラ), a Light Van is a ‘raito ban‘ (ライト バン). Confusingly, the Suzuki Jimny 4×4 is classed as a commercial vehicle.
1986 Daihatsu Leeza 550 cc:
Cars got bigger in the 1980’s when regulations were changed and 550cc engines were now the norm. The 1986 Daihatsu Leeza (above) is a bit of an anomaly in as much as it had coupé lines, was replaced by a saloon, and was technically a commercial vehicle. At that time, if a vehicle had strapping points and temporary rear seats, it could be classed as a kei-class commercial. When the regulations changed again to 660cc, the Leeza morphed again into a convertible and then a pseudo sports !!
The Leeza Spyder 660 cc:
[ The Cars covered in this section include . . . ]
[ The Daihatsu Leeza; Max; Mira & Move ]
[ The Honda Life; ‘N’ Series & the Honda ‘Z’ ]
[ The Mazda Carol ]
[ The Mitsubishi 500 / 600 & Minica ]
[ The Subaru Rex ]