Tokyo 2017: Deciphering Daihatsu

26 October 2017 | by Chris Maillard

Not known for its cars so much as its small workhorse commercial vehicles, Daihatsu nonetheless has a long history as a car maker, and chose to highlight this with a display including some of its museum pieces.

Somewhat overshadowed by the launch-heavy neighbouring stand of Toyota, Daihatsu’s offerings were nonetheless solid enough, and occasionally charming. Their core range consists squared-off practical Kei-sized MPVs such as the amusingly-named Thor – not so much the god of thunder as the minor deity responsible for office supply deliveries.

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Also on display, though, was the retro-styled DN Compagno, a small coupe supposedly inspired by its identically-named forebear which shared its stage space. To us it looked rather more reminiscent of the ’60s Sunbeam Stiletto, a coupé variant of Rootes’ Hillman Imp which shared a similarly sloping roofline and vestigial fins. Cute, though, particularly in a cheerfully cheeky orange.

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The perils of showing your past vehicles, though, was neatly demonstrated by the dully default Kei-sized utility concept which was supposedly inspired by the firm’s early Midget delivery trike. That funny and charismatic vehicle, with its fabulously frog-like face and cool mint-green paintwork, was the one everybody was photographing and pointing at. Not the intended idea at all.

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Tokyo 2017