One of the most popular vehicles we export are Japanese mini-trucks or “kei trucks” as they are known inside Japan.
These are small, light trucks with either rear wheel drive or 4wd configurations. These originally started out in the late 50s, early 1960s with even smaller engines but eventually went to 550 and now all are about 660ccs to fall right under the maximum for the light vehicle class regulations here in Japan. They are produced by nearly all major Japanese manufacturers. Models including the Honda Acty, Suzuki Carry, Mitsubishi Minicab, Daihatsu Hijet, Mazda Scrum and the Subaru Sambar are available. Certain models even have more advanced features such as turbocharged/supercharged engines as well. There was even an extended cab version called the Daihatsu Jumbo at one point!
The majority of them are manual transmissions but there are some with automatics if you’re not into shifting gears. Air conditioning is common on them as well if you’re in a hot climate im sure this is something that you can appreciate!. Heaters are standard on nearly all of them for you cold weather people too!
The mini trucks are very popular with a multitude of people in Japan from farmers, construction, fire departments, delivery vehicles and more. Some are even configured with dump beds, small cranes, tanker set ups, lift beds, lift gates or ladder racks etc. Due to the vast number of ways it can be used, people with farms, hunters, off-road enthusiasts, promoters, property/grounds maintenance firms, and others are finding them a welcomed asset.
They are fully street functioning vehicles with turn/brake signals, horns, windshield wipers, seat belts etc so that is a major plus in many jurisdictions and places. Some of the 4wd models have high/low range and differential lockers to provide additional effort and utility in some of those more tougher areas to navigate.
Naturally with a small engine they find themselves more at home at slower speeds but are fast enough for slower highway speeds of roughly 55-65 mph/85-105 kph.
Most payload capacities are roughly ½ to ¾ tons or around 1000-1500 lbs and roughly 5-600 or so kg. which for their small stature is quite impressive really.
Mileage will vary on use etc but can get up to 35-40 mpg.
All of them are quite decent but the Suzuki Carry and the Subaru Sambar seem to be some of the top sellers but the Honda Acty and the Daihatsu Hijet sell real good as well due to a lot of Honda/Toyota loyalists out there. The Mazda Autozam Scrum was basically a rebadged Suzuki Carry so if you go that route you’re buying the Suzuki anyway.
If you’re interested in importing some of these Japanese Mini trucks out of Japan or have more questions about them, please feel free to reach out to us anytime. https://www.bulldogbros.com/contact-us/