Introduce Japan's only unique car Kei-car.

Crazy Kei-car in JAPAN

What is kei-cars?

What is kei-cars?Japanese car category


As a part of economic growth in 1949 the Japanese government adopted a category that citizens can easily purchase cars. It is Japan's own automobile size category.

Kei-cars has various restrictions. However, there is merit that it can be purchased relatively inexpensively.

There is also the merit that taxes are low, statutory inspection fee is cheap, highway toll is cheap.


Restrictions on kei-cars.

Restriction list United States United Kingdom
full length 133 in 3,400 mm
width 58 in 1,480 mm
height 78 in 2,000 mm
An occupant 4
Displacement 0.66 Liter 660 cc
Number plate color yellow
price Relatively cheap
Tax / Running Cost Relatively cheap
Power performance Low
Comfortable performance Low
Quiet performance Low

There are restriction on kei-cars.

When the body size is small, it is easy for everyone to driving because the interval is easy to understand.

However, it is a difficulty that you can not secure an escape zone at the time of a collision. Body rigidity has improved more than before, but the size of kei-cars is not safe.

Especially when collided from the side, injured rate and the mortality rate is high. It’s obvious.

The color of the number plate of kei-cars is yellow.

The license plate is yellow in kei-cars. The reason is to judge that it is kei-cars which can receive various discounts.

Also, with "kei-cars" and "standard size cars", the official agencies under jurisdiction are different. Therefore, the color is different.

*However, in order to make the Olympics and the Rugby World Cup prosperous, it is possible to make it a white license plate with a special mark. Moreover, it is valid even if the event ends.

The maximum output is limited to 63 horsepower.

Also, the maximum output of the engine is limited to 63 horsepower. Typically 63 hp with a turbo engine, 51 hp as a normal engine.

CVT is the mainstream transmission.

If the speed range is high, 5 speed Automatic or 6 speed Automatic is preferable. But the speed limit in Japan is 37 mph for ordinary roads and 62 mph for expressways.

Furthermore, multistep Automatic is hard to handle with the exhaust volume of kei-cars.

CVT is a convenient transmission to bring out the small engine power to the limit.

Japanese car taxes

Kei-cars has low taxes.

There are several taxes of Japanese automobiles. I will explain representative "automobile tax" and "weight tax".

*I'm sorry. "Car tax" and "Automobile tax" are the same.

Automobile tax

Automobile tax is tax classified according to engine displacement.

Pay tax every year.

The engine displacement of kei-cars is 660 cc, and the power performance is inferior, but the tax is low.

Tax amount by displacement JPY USD GBP
Up to 660 cc (kei-cars) 7200 66 47
661cc-999cc 29500 271 196
1000cc-1499cc 34500 317 229
1500cc-1999cc 39500 363 262
2000cc-2499cc 45000 413 299
2500cc-2999cc 51000 468 338
3000cc-3499cc 58000 533 385
3500cc-3999cc 66500 611 441
4000cc-4499cc 76500 703 508
4500cc-5999cc 88000 808 584
More than 6000 cc 111000 1,020 737

Weight tax

Weight tax is a tax classified by weight.

Legal inspection of owned car comes every two years, but we will pay tax at that time.

Tax amount by weight JPY USD GBP
kei-cars (The actual weight does not matter) 6600 60 43
2204 lb (1000kg) or less 16400 150 108
3306 lb (1500kg) or less 24600 226 163
4409 lb (2000kg) or less 32800 301 217
5511 lb (2500kg) or less 41000 376 272

Japanese economy and kei-cars

Economic conditions are still bad after the economic bubble failed in 1991.

As of 2018, television news shows that "the economy is recovering", but 95% of the citizen's employees are lamented that "income does not increase".

It is only the Japanese government and people of a large company that professes that the economy is recovering. The situation of small and medium enterprises is very bad.

Rising oil prices, Lehman shock, IT economic bubble collapse. In Japan where the economy was rough, the difference between high-income people and low-income people became very big.

Therefore, more than 30% of the car owned by Japanese citizens is in the state of "kei-cars". This trend is increasing every year.

Everyone wants to ride a big and comfortable car. But most of the people have to choose kei-cars because their incomes are low.

Japan possesses a world-class automobile manufacturer called Toyota / Honda. However, the income of Japanese citizens is low. This is the truth.

In Japan, a tremendous aging society will come. Families with low incomes can not produce many children.

In order to get a job in a good company, it is necessary to study at university. But the university's tuition is 100% self-payable. National university will cost 18000USD(13000GBP) in 4 years, private university 36000USD(26000GBP). For a medical university it is 110000USD(79000GBP) in 4 years.

Wealthy families are wealthy forever, low-income people remain poor forever.

The Japanese government has entered a period when it is necessary to carry out full exemption of tuition.

The Japanese government finances poor students. That is loan. There is obligation to repay.

The university was able to graduate, but those who failed job is Interest continues to increase.

In the case of a company that has succeeded in finding a job, but has a small salary, by repaying the monthly debt, the salary is exhausted and the life becomes poor.

As a result, the number of people who climb the stairs to heaven has increased rapidly, but it is not broadcast on Japanese TV.

Is the Japanese government indifferent?

It is still good that workers get fewer. In the near future, the workers will be gone.

Government officials must take countermeasures as soon as possible.

The future of kei-cars

Although it is a kei-cars that has problems with comfort due to restrictions, the quiet performance has improved since 2012.

In addition, the number of kei-cars that the following functions "adopted standard" has increased.

  • ACC
  • Collision Avoidance Brake
  • Lane keeping support system

However, instead the kei-cars price soared. Taxes are cheap, but prices are equal to or higher than those of regular cars.

The reason why the price of old kei-cars was cheap is that the quality was low. But now it is different.

If you increase the budget a little, you can buy a comfortable standard car, which is a problem for the common people.

hybrid car of kei-cars

Speaking of Japan, a hybrid car.

It is manufactured by Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Subaru, Mazda etc.

Definition of a hybrid car must have an independent motor. As of 2018, there are no kei-cars that fit the definition.

Suzuki sells kei-cars as a hybrid car by attaching "motor function" to the generator, but it does not have high fuel economy performance like the original hybrid or high quiet performance.

Suzuki 's kei - cars hybrid is not a hybrid car.

Suzuki sells a kei-cars called "Twin" that past.

And developed, we have a two-seater "Twin hybrid" kei-cars.

But it did not sell.

Electric car of kei-cars

Speaking of Japan is an electric car?

Nissan 's "leaf" made mass - produced electric vehicles for the first time in the world.

My friend bought "first leaf", but said that long distance drives are getting nervous.

There is an electric car in kei-cars. Mitsubishi's "i-MiEV" was sold before "first leaf".

However, the number of vehicles sold is sluggish due to the short traveling distance, the increase in electricity costs due to nuclear accidents, the abolition of electric power company's night power plans, and so on.

It is the PHEV that the fuel consumption cost is most efficient.

Mitsubishi's "Outlander_PHEV" and Toyota's "Prius_PHV" are good.


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