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Kei car (K-car), also called keijidōsha (in Japanese: 軽自動車 light motor vehicle), is a Japanese category of small automobiles, including passenger cars, vans and pickup trucks. They are designed to exploit local tax and insurance relaxations, and are exempted from the requirement to certify that adequate parking is available for the vehicle. These standards originated in the times following the end of the Second World War, when most Japanese could not afford a full-sized car yet had enough to buy a motorcycle. To promote the growth of the car industry, as well as to offer an alternative delivery method to small business and shop owners, Kei car standards were created.

The cars feature yellow licence plates, earning them the name "yellow-plate cars" in English-speaking (black numbers on yellow background for private use and yellow numbers on black background for commercial use) and spanish circles .

Because the regulations only restrict physical size and engine power, manufacturers have introduced many advanced technologies to the class. As a result, kei cars are often available with forced induction engines, automatic and CVT transmissions, front-, rear- and four-wheel drive, hybrid drivetrains, air conditioning, GPS and many other features.

History of regulations

July 8, 1949

July 26, 1950

  • Maximum length — 3 m
  • Maximum width — 1.3 m
  • Maximum displacement — 300 cc (four-stroke), 200 cc (two-stroke)

August 16, 1951

  • Maximum displacement — 360 cc; (four-stroke), 240 cc; (two-stroke)

April 4, 1955

  • No further differentiation between two- and four-stroke: all up to 360 cc

January 1, 1976

  • Maximum length — 3.2 m
  • Maximum width — 1.4 m
  • Maximum displacement — 550 cc

March, 1990

  • Maximum length — 3.3 m
  • Maximum width — 1.4 m
  • Maximum displacement — 660 cc

October 1, 1998

  • Maximum length — 3.39 m
  • Maximum width — 1.48 m
  • Maximum height — 2 m
  • Maximum displacement — 660 cc
  • Maximum power — 64 hp (47kW)

Kei car manufacturers

See also

External links