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.
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: First To Market, #2 In Market
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.
- Honda Acty
- Mitsubishi Mini Cab
- Subaru Sambar
- Mazda Scrum
- Toyota Pixis
- Nissan NT100 Clipper
If you're interested in getting a Japanese mini truck, but you're still trying to figure out which model looks best to you, why not also go over to our mini trucks for sale page and browse through some options?