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[ The  Manufacturers ]

Autozam;  Daihatsu;  Honda;  Mazda;  Mitsubishi;  Mitsuoka;  Nissan;  Smart;  Subaru;  Suzuki;  Toyota;  Yamaha.


m1  Autozam (アウトザム)  Related image

(1990-1994Autozam Carol (Suzuki Alto): m2

(1990-1994Autozam Scrum mini MPV (Suzuki Carry): m3

(1992-1994Autozam AZ-1 mid-engined sports (Suzuki Cara): m4


m6    Daihatsu Global Headquarters: m7

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, Ōsaka 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.

Midgetm9  Hijetm8  Copenm10  Movem11

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 ]


m15  (本田)

The Honda Motor Co. Ltd. (本田技研工業株式会社) honda-giken-kōgyō-kabushiki-kaisha.

Soichiro Honda:  im1  Takeo Fujisawa: pp35

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 recognises 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 pickupm16

(1967Honda N360, Honda’s first 2-door hatchbackm17

(1971Honda Lifem18  (1972Honda Life Step Van:  m19


 m20  (マツダ)

Today, Mazda offer badge-engineered Suzuki models. (see: Autozam)

 Matsuda Jūjiro (松田·重次郎) 1875-1952: im2  Founded the Mazda Motor Corporation.

Mazda AZ-lss43  R360cc125  Flair (Wagon R):cc126


 kc154   Mitsubishi  (三菱)

Mitsubishi Motors (三菱 自動車 工業 株式 会社) mitsubishi-jidōsha-kōgyō-kabushiki-kaisha.

  Yataro Iwasaki (弥太郎 岩崎) 1835-1885: IM3 Founded the Mitsubishi *Zaibutsu.

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.

* ‘Zaibutsu (lit: financial clique) is a pre-war Japanese type of industrial and financial business conglomerate.

Minica Toppo Van & Saloon (1962-2011kc156 kc157 kc158


my48   (光岡)   Mitsuoka Motors

Mitsuoka Akio (光岡 章夫) Is the Rep.Dir. & President of Mitsuoka Motorspp37

Mitsuoka Susumu (光岡 進) Is the founder and Chairman: pp38

His vision was To create cars that expressed spirit and soul and share them with the world.

The BUBU 50 Series: my60my61my62

’98-’07 Mitsuoka K-1 mid-engined 50cc microcarmy63 my64 

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 K-2 is based on my65my66 the Messerschmitt TG500: 

K-3:my67 K-4in red, yellow, light & dark blue:  my70

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 (£5,734) to ¥1,359,750 (£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 !!

(1996Mitsuoka Ray lmy71 cc127

The Ray llmy72my73

The Ray lll  my74my75 resembles the Riley Elf Mk 3

(2010-2012Mitsuoka LikeThe frontview of Mitsuoka Like (HA3WLDDB).JPG

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 () and Drivetrain ().



[ 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 ]

Aikawa Yoshisuke (鮎川·義介) (1880-1967) IM4 Nissan Co-founder.

In 1928, Aikawa became president of the Kuhara Mining Company and created a holding company called Nihon Sangyō, or Nissan for short.

Den KenjiroIM5 Co-founder of the Nissan Motor Company.

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 Dat hence Datsun, the company was acquired by the Nissan zaibatsu in the 1930’s.

Gorham William R (Reagon) (1888-1949IM6 Nissan Co-founder.

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, sixty five 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‘.

Hashimoto Masujiropp36 Co-founder of the Nissan Motor Company.

Takeuchi Meitaro & Aoyama Rokuro were also co-founder’s of the Nissan Motor Company.

Nissan only sell badge-engineered Mitsubishi & Suzuki models: my79 my80


ad22  my96  (Daimler AG)

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.

my93 my95 my94


my100 (スバル)   Subaru Corporate Headquarters Tōkyō: my101

Subaru is a division of Fuji Heavy Industries . . .

. . . and was founded on July 15th 1953 by ‘Chikuhei Nakajima‘: IM7

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 360my102  R-2my103 Rex:  my106  Viviomy107

R1my104 R2my105

The 2G Stella is a re-badged Daihatsu Movemy109

Shinroku Momose (晋六百瀬) 1919-1997: pp39 Designed the Subaru Sambar.

He was inducted into the Japan Automotive Hall of Fame in 2004.


kc159  (スズキ)

The Suzuki Motor Corporation (スズキ株式会社) suzuki-kabu-shiki-kaisha.

The Suzuki Headquarters in Hamamatsu: kc160

Michio SuzukiIM9 Osamu Suzuki: IM10

Suzuki Motors was started by Michio Suzuki in 1954 and its current chairman & 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 1955kc161

Suzulight Carry trucks & vans were the first to use theCarry‘ name and are still in use today.

Current kei-cars include the Alto: kc162  Lapinkc163

Palettekc164  Wagon Rkc165  Everykc167

Jimnykc168  & Carry: kc169

Previous models: Capuccinokc170  Cervokc171

Frontekc172  Keikc173

Mighty Boykc174  & Twin: kc175


kc176 (トヨタ )

The Toyota Motor Corporation (トヨタ自動車株式会社) toyota-jidōsha-kabushiki-kaisha.

IM8  The Toyota company was founded by ‘Kiichiro Toyoda (豊田 喜一郎) in 1937.

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: Daihatsu WAKE G "SA" (LA700S) front.JPG


six91  (ヤマハ)

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-coupé with a Ferrari F40 inspired design.  The Ami was actually  a Daihatsu Opti variant with a dummy mid-engine design body.

cus27 cus29

Only 3 were ever made out of a projected 600 !!

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