There may not be a lot of room for wild creativity within the Japanese mini truck rules, but that doesn’t mean that manufacturers haven’t tried to outdo each other in the race to win buyers. In fact every major Japanese auto maker has at one time or other been in the kei (mini) truck market.
Here’s an overview of the different players and their mini truck offerings. We’ll start with the #1 mini truck maker by sales and work our way down:
Daihatsu, The #1 Mini Truck Maker By Sales
Daihatsu has been in this mini truck business a long time — since 1960 in fact — with the eponymous Hijet name plate. Despite sales being limited almost exclusively to the islands of Japan, the Hijet has been such a big bestseller that, as of November 2020, Daihatsu had sold 7.4 million of them. This has probably been helped by the fact that it has also has had over a decade of unbroken reign at the top of the sales charts.
You can find out more about Daihatsu and how they got into making mini trucks here.
And you can find out about each of Daihatsu’s main Hijet variants here:
- Regular cab Hijet pickup with fixed bed.
- Regular cab Hijet pickup with dump bed.
- Jumbo cab Hijet pickup with fixed bed.
- Deck Van 4-seater crew cab.
- Cargo 4-seater passenger van.
Then click here if you want to see Daihatsu Hijets for sale from our independent dealers.
Suzuki: 39 Years At The Top, Now #2
Suzuki beat Daihatsu into the mini truck market with its Suzulight model, and then it held the #1 sales spot for 39 consecutive years until 2009, so they know a thing or two about pleasing the Japanese mini truck market, even though their famous Carry models have been relegated to second place in the sales rankings.
Read more here about how Suzuki started and how they entered the mini truck market.
Then learn about Suzuki’s main mini truck variants here:
- Regular cab Carry pickup with fixed bed.
- Regular cab Carry pickup with dump bed.
- Extended cab Super Carry pickup with fixed bed.
- 4-seater passenger van Every model.
Then, click here to see Suzuki mini trucks for sale.
The Rest: Other Japanese Mini Truck Makers
Whoah, hold on a sec. There’s a whole section about Daihatsu. Then a whole section about Suzuki. But now there’s just one measly section to cover all these other automakers? There’s some big names in here. Why lump them all together?
Well, it’s not as strange as it seems. You see, after many years of cut-throat competition, even the big names like Mitsubishi, Subaru, Mazda and Honda decided there wasnt’ really much of a future in carving out a tiny slice from the leftovers of a market dominated by these two big players. And then there are even bigger names, like Toyota and Nissan, who have never really even been in the mini truck market, but wanted to get in and play simply so that they could have one of their fingers in literally every single pie. Which is why these brands only appear in the mini truck market now as rebadges of either Daihatsu or Suzuki models.
Choosing The Best Mini Truck For You
The sheer breadth of possibilities may seem overwhelming, right? If you don’t know much about the different makes and models, but you know what you want to do with your mini truck, so you just want to find the one that matches your needs best, then click here and our guide will help you figure it out.
Of course, you can also just go and browse the mini trucks for sale from our friendly dealers, who are always happy to answer customers questions to help them find the best Japanese mini truck for their needs. Each listing has a phone number, so if you find a mini truck you like the look of, go ahead and make a call.