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[ The Manufacturers ]
1990-94 Autozam Carol (Suzuki Alto):
’90-’94 Autozam Scrum mini MPV (Suzuki Carry):
’92-’94 Autozam AZ-1 mid-engined sports (Suzuki Cara):
Daihatsu Global Headquarters:
The Daihatsu Motor Co Ltd (ダイハツ工業株式会社) daihatsu-kōgyō-kabushiki-gaisha is the oldest of all the Japanese car manufacturers. Its headquarters are in Ikeda, Osaka prefecture. The company is a member of the Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFJ) keiretsu*.
* A ‘keiretsu‘ (系列) is a group of companies who all have shares in each other. This is common practice in Japanese car companies and helps to limit possible trading fluctuations.
On March 1st 2017, Daihatsu adopted a new group slogan ‘To Light You Up‘ to mark the 110th year of its founding.
Midget: Hijet: Copen: Move:
Daihatsu Kei’s include – Cars: The Atrai, Bee, Ceria (Indonesia), Copen, Cuore, Domino, Esse, Gran Max, Fellow, Fellow Max, Max, Mira, Mira Gino, Move, Leeza, Naked, Opti, Sonica, Tanto, Wake, and Commercials: Hijet & Midget l & ll. The Daihatsu name is a combination of the first *‘kanji‘ of Ōsaka in Japanese, which can be pronounced ‘dai‘ and the first kanji of engine manufacture which is ‘hatsu‘ hence ‘Daihatsu‘.
* ‘Kanji‘ are the characters used in written Japanese (of Chinese origin).
[ The Copen automatic top ]
The Honda Motor Co. Ltd. (本田技研工業株式会社) honda-giken-kōgyō-kabushiki-kaisha.
The Honda company was founded in Hamamatsu, Japan in October 1946 by Soichiro Honda (本田宗一路) 1906-1991 and Takeo Fujisawa (藤沢 武夫) 1910-1988 and employs around 200,000 people today. Soichiro Honda was not interested in traditional education. His school handed grade reports to the children, but required that they be returned stamped with the family seal, to make sure that a parent had seen it. Soichiro created a stamp to forge his family seal out of a used rubber bicycle pedal cover. The fraud was soon discovered when Honda started to make forged stamps for other children !!
The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) established the Soichiro Honda Medal in recognition of Honda’s achievements in 1982. This medal recognizes outstanding achievement or significant engineering contributions in the field of personal transportation. In 1989, he was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame near Detroit. He was posthumously appointed to the Senior 3rd rank in the order of precedence and appointed a Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun. Takeo Fujisawa, after his retirement opened an antique shop in Tōkyō. After his death, he was posthumously appointed to the 4th rank in the order of precedence and decorated with the Order of the Rising Sun 3rd Class.
1963 Honda T360 pickup:
1967 Honda N360, Honda’s first 2-door hatchback:
’71 Honda Life: ’72 Honda Life Step Van:
Today, Mazda offer badge-engineered Suzuki models. (see: Autozam)
Mitsubishi Motors (三菱 自動車 工業 株式 会社) mitsubishi-jidōsha-kōgyō-kabushiki-kaisha.
He was the great-grandson of a man who had sold his family’s samurai status in obligation of debts. Iwasaki began his career as an employee of the Tosa clan. The clan had business interests in many parts of Japan. The name Mitsubishi is a compound of mitsu (three) and hishi (lit: water chestnut), often used in Japanese to denote a diamond or rhombus. Its emblem was a combination of the Iwasaki family crest and the oak-leaf crest of the Yamanouchi family, who were leaders of the Tosa clan, which controlled the part of Shikoku where Yataro was born.
* A ‘Zaibutsu‘ (lit: financial clique) is a pre-war Japanese industrial and financial business conglomerate.
Minica Toppo Van & Saloon 1962-2011:
His vision was ‘to create cars that expressed spirit and soul and share them with the world‘.
The BUBU 50 Series:
’98-’07 Mitsuoka K-1 mid-engined 50cc microcar:
In 2004, a special edition of the MC-1 was produced of which there were 35 examples, they were fitted with a retro Citroen H Van front end and side panels.
The 1st generation Mitsuoka Ray is a heavily modified Mazda Carol. The car started out with 3 doors, however, in 2002 Mitsuoka changed it into a 5-door car. The price ranges from 911,000 yen (£5,734) to 1,359,750 yen (£8,553). Mitsuoka described the Ray as ‘like a dignified and graceful flower‘. It received mixed reviews, earning a place on the ‘Ugliest Cars in Britain‘ list due to problems with quality and design. However, it was chosen the most attractive car in Australia !!
2010-2012 Mitsuoka Like:
The ‘Like’ is a rebadged Mitsubishi MiEV electric car. It gets its name from the Japanese word ‘Raiku‘ (雷駆), which is a combination of the characters for Thunder (雷) and Drivetrain (駆).
The Nissan Motor Company Ltd.
(日産 自動車 株式会社) nissan-jidōsha-kabushiki-kaisha.
T h e N I S S A N C o – F o u n d e r s :
In 1928, Aikawa became president of the Kuhara Mining Company and created a holding company called Nihon Sangyo, or Nissan for short.
Den was also one of the founders of the Kaishinsha Motorcar Works in 1914. The ‘D’ in the company acronym ‘DAT’ was from ‘Den’. Later changed to ‘Datsun’, the company was acquired by the Nissan zaibatsu in the 1930’s.
Gorham William R (Reagon) was an American automobile engineer who emigrated to Japan. Gorham would make substantial contributions to the technology and capability of Japan’s fledgeling automobile industry, and worked with a number of companies that would eventually be merged into the Nissan Motor Company. In David Halberstam’s 1986 book The Reckoning, Halberstam states – ‘In terms of technology, Gorham was the founder of the Nissan Motor Company’ and that ‘In 1983, 65 years after Gorham’s arrival… young Nissan engineers who had never met him spoke of him as a god and could describe in detail his years at the company and his many inventions’.
Takeuchi Meitaro and Aoyama Rokuro were also co-founder’s of the Nissan Motor Company.
Nissan only sell badge-engineered Mitsubishi & Suzuki models:
Smart (スマート) offered a ‘kei‘ version of its Fortwo called the ‘Smart K‘ in Japan at Yanase dealerships from 2001-2004, with specially developed rear fenders, reduced tyre dimensions and track width, to conform to kei car standards.
Subaru is a division of Fuji Heavy Industries …
Subaru is the Japanese name for the Pleiades star cluster ‘aka’ The 7 Sisters. It is also a reference to the number of companies that merged to form the company. There are only 6 stars on the badge, because traditionally one of the stars is invisible.
Subaru 360: R-2: Rex: Vivio:
The 2G Stella is a re-badged Daihatsu Move:
He was inducted into the Japan Automotive Hall of Fame in 2004.
The Suzuki Motor Corporation (スズキ株式会社) suzuki-kabu-shiki-kaisha.
Suzuki Motors was started by Michio Suzuki in 1954 and its current chairman and CEO is Osamu Suzuki, the 4th adopted son-in-law in a row to run the company.
The Suzulight Sedan was the first production car to be made in 1955:
Suzulight Carry trucks & vans were the first to use the Carry name & are still in use today.
Current kei cars include the Alto: Lapin:
Palette: Wagon R: Every:
Jimny: & Carry:
Previous models include the Capuccino: Cervo:
Mighty Boy: & Twin:
The Toyota Motor Corporation (トヨタ自動車株式会社) toyota-jidōsha-kabushiki-kaisha.
Toyoda the family name was changed to Toyota as it sounded better, and its 8-stroke count in Japanese is associated with wealth and good fortune.
The Toyota Pixis Mega is a badge-engineered Daihatsu Wake:
The Yamaha Motor Company Ltd. (ヤマハ 発動機 株式 会社) yamaha-hatsudōki-kabushiki-gaisha.
YM Mobilemates, a branch of the Yamaha Motor Company, announced the production of the Ami, a micro coupe with a Ferrari F40 inspired design. The ami was a Daihatsu Opti variant with a dummy mid-engine design body.
Only 3 were ever made out of a projected 600.