SHINSHIRO, Japan — Toshie Yamada’s “kei,” with its pint-size engine and tiny wheels, looks more like a Fisher-Price toy car than a regular truck. But don’t underestimate her Nissan NT 100 Clipper microtruck. At a recent farmers’ market, where she sells orchids from her flower farm here in central Japan, she loaded up a mountain of crates, buckets and a folding table before hopping in and zipping away.
“In these parts, keis are definitely the No. 1 car,” Ms. Yamada said. “Big cars are too much of a hassle.”
As farmers’ trucks, family cars, delivery vans and even tiny cafes-on-wheels, keis are everywhere in Japan. They are more popular than ever, thanks to the country’s high gasoline prices, a preferential tax system and an uneven economic recovery that have made the wee cars enticing value propositions.
Via Steve Crandall.