Kei cars – also called microvans or mini cars – reign supreme in the Japanese car market. According to the Japanese Automobile Dealers Association, five out of the eight bestselling models in Japan in 2019 were kei cars. On top of the list was the Honda N-Box, which took the title for the third year in a row, with 253,500 units sold. For the N-Box, the name says it all: The car is - like other kei cars - shaped like a box to minimize car size while maximizing the size of the interior.
Almost all kei cars are manufactured by Japanese car makers. Two Daihatsu kei cars were among the most sold in 2019 – the Tanto and the Move, while almost all non-kei cars in the top 10 were manufactured by Toyota.
Kei cars are restricted to 3.4 meters in length, 2 meters in height and 1.48 meters in width. The engine size is restricted to a 0.66-liter capacity. Cars to fulfil all of these specifications enjoy maximum tax and insurance benefits in Japan. In addition to being easy to park, these factors were mostly responsible for the popularity of the kei car. While the type of car has made some inroads into India, it has not caught on majorly in any country except for Japan.