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Subaru ends its Kei car production

By FaezClutchless on 08 Mar 2012

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In Japan, there is a vehicle market segment known as keijidosha (literally means light automobile) which is a category of small-sized cars that are designed to comply with Japanese government tax and insurance regulations. These Kei cars also have to comply with size and power regulations, in other words, their dimensions and horsepower must not exceed certain regulations.

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Subaru R1, one of Subaru's recent Kei car models.

Currently, their dimensions can not exceed 3.4 metres in length, 1.48 metres in width and 2 metres in height. And engine specifications are limited to a maximum of 660cc for displacement and 63 brake horsepower. Kei cars are generally less popular outside of Japan and we donít see much of them here locally.

Subaru recently announced that they will end their Kei car models production at their Ota facility in order to make way for the manufacturing and assembling of newer models.

Subaruís history in the auto manufacturing business is closely associated with Kei cars. Why would I say that? Their first ever mass produced car model was the Subaru 360 and it was considered to be in the keijidosha category. It had a 356cc two cylinder engine and was pretty small in size. It was very popular in Japan and other Japanese automakers also released similar sized cars later on.

A ceremony was held in Japan to commemorate the end of Subaruís 54 year history in the Kei car making business. This decision to stop their Kei car production was made in order to increase production capacity for newer models. Subaruís facility in Ota, where Kei cars were previously assembled, will start assembling the BRZ very soon and the facility will also begin to build Impreza models before the end of the year.

The companyís president Yasuyuki Yoshinaga has mentioned that it was a tough decision to make but it marks a major milestone towards the creation of a new car in response to changing times.

Over the past 54 years, Subaru has produced close to eight million Kei cars and fans of such cars should not be disappointed over it as the other Japanese auto makers still offers Kei cars.

Photo credit: Net Car Show

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Written by FaezClutchless
Some say that his blood is actually RON98 petrol and some say that his right foot weighs over 20kg. But all that we know about Faez is that he loves to drive and is a JDM enthusiast.

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