Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Kei-Cars are okay

Walking around here it is impossible not to notice that the cars are a lot smaller. And some of the smallest of the small have these yellow license plates. They are Keijidosha class (or Kei for short) cars, and could actually be a van or a pickup truck too. M told me about how they are vehicles designed to take advantage of the Japanese car tax system - they have to meet certain restrictions on the car's size, as well as the engine capacity and power. Owners then benefit from lower taxes and insurance, and in some areas home owners with a Kei-car can have their parking requirements waived. (1)

The kei-car standards originated at the end of the WWII (when most Japanese people could not afford a full-sized car) in order to promote the growth of the car industry, as well as to offer an alternative delivery method to small business and shop owners. (2)

On Treehugger.com there was an interesting article last fall regarding the popularity of Kei-Cars: Jargon Watch: Kei-Car Sales Up 6.2% In Japan While New Car Sales Dropped 13.1%

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