Saturday, November 1, 2008

About Kcar

What Is Kei Car (Kcar)

Japan is a modern industrial nation with almost zero natural resources. So wisely in 1949, the Japanese government started giving tax breaks to cars of certain size and efficiency. These cars became known as Kei Jidosha (Kei-Car, K-car), which is Japanese for "light vehicle".

According to regulations, K-Cars must be less than 3.4 metres long and 1.48 metres wide. This is shorter than a new Mini, and not as wide as a Toyota Echo hatchback. Their engines are also regulated to be less than 660cc with no more than 64 horsepower. By comparison, a Canadian Smartcar has 42 horsepower, a 1976 VW Bus- 32.

The K-Car is very popular in Japan. The key to this popularity hasn't been just the tax breaks; it's the fuel economy. These cars have souped-up motorcycle engines with some of the most sophisticated turbo, superchargers, and dual overhead cams but they skimp at the pumps. Although the Kei-car regulations have changed over the years, Japanese manufacturers have had more than 50 years to learn how to get the most of every regulated square millimeter. Time to take advantage of it.