TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s top automaker Toyota is adding two companies specializing in tiny “kei” cars, Daihatsu and Suzuki, to a partnership in commercial vehicles it set up with Hino and Isuzu earlier this year.
In announcing the deal Wednesday, Toyota Motor Corp. Chief Executive Akio Toyoda said it will speed up efforts to become more ecological and sustainable because kei cars make up about 40% of the Japanese auto market.
Fuel-efficient kei cars, defined by their small size and maximum 0.66 liter engine size, are popular with farmers, deliveries and retailers. Their tiny size is a plus for maneuvering through Japan’s tiny roads and fitting into small parking spaces.
“We want to deliver better lives for people,” Toyoda said in an online news conference. “Kei cars make for a practical and sustainable lifeline for Japan.”