Daihatsu Brings Trio of Microcars to Tokyo Show

Daihatsu may not be well-remembered here in the ‘States, but the brand is Japan’s oldest carmaker – as well as one of Asia’s top sellers, specializing in small-displacement city cars and inner-urban delivery vehicles.

Despite an early withdrawal from the US in the 1990s and a more recent withdrawal from Australia, the brand continues to make significant forward strides in emerging markets, and is making moves to ensure its relevance in Asia’s fuel-sipping future.  The company’s latest move has them unveiling 3 (three) innovative new concepts built on the company’s Kei-car platforms, “pointing the way”, as it were, for tomorrow’s line-up of small Daihatsus.

Let’s take a look at them, shall we?

The Daihatsu DX (above) is a small “rollerskate” of a car, powered by a 660 cc, turbocharged twin and built with a series of removable body panels that can make the little roadster into a coupe, breadvan, or tiny trucklet (like the old Nissan NX from the 80s).  You can check out a few of these “Hollywood” ideas in the gallery, below.

Daihatsu’s PICO, on the other hand (below), is a tandem microcar in the same vein as Suzuki’s Q or VW’s Nils concepts.  Electric, slow, and probably not up to the challenge of Renault/Nissan’s Twizy and GM’s upcoming EN-V electric pod thing.

The third Daihatsu concept, the FC Sho Case, is a boxy delivery/passenger van that features a fuel-cell powered electric drivetrain and smart use of fold-down seating to create a sort of mobile living room, making the FC something of a new-age Westfalia (below).

The best part of Daihatsu’s little uber-van?  Besides the obvious (come on, people – the thing turns into a rolling bedroom with a giant-size HDTV in it), the see-through floor means all of the FC’s super-slick mechanicals are in full view.  For gear-heads and bleeding edge tech-geeks, it doesn’t get much better than that!

The PICO and FC ShoCase have little to no chance of reaching mass production, but the DX (in roadster form) is easy enough.  Besides, there’s a precedent in the form of Honda’s Beat model and Daihatsu’s own Copen micro-roadtser.  Here’s hoping the boys at Daihatsu decide to pull the trigger on the fun 4-wheeler.

You can check out many more photos over at the CBD’s mega-galleries, if you’re so inclined. CLICK HERE to check those out.

Source | Photos:  Daihatsu, via Car Body Design.

Jo Borrás

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, out on two wheels, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.