What is Kei Truck (AKA Mini Truck)?

Kei Truck or in Japanese "Keitora" is commonly known in the US as "Mini Trucks". Japan has been the manufacturer of a reliable small fuel efficient vehicle since the 1960’s. The Japanese built the 2 wheel drive (2WD) Mini Truck first then eventually evolved to 4 wheel drive (4WD) Mini Trucks. These Mini Trucks are commonly powered by liquid cooled two to four cylinder 550cc or 660cc engines. The most current version uses 660cc engine. The Mini Trucks are small with one or two seat and commonly used as multi purpose all terrain utility vehicles throughout Japan. The use of these Trucks varies depending on users. Mini Trucks are used in Japan for both paved and unpaved road including but not limited to off highway rural road use, back country gravel roads for delivery of goods, farming, construction, and many other uses. These Mini Trucks are perfect for small gravel and dirt roads that exist in Japan with limited parking. People who visit Japan would see them all over the place. In Japan they use many Kei-Vehicles as primary utility vehicles, since they are small and ease of parking, besides they get great gas mileage. The Mini Vans are the Van version of the Mini Truck.

Who makes Kei Vehicles?

Most of the major well known vehicle makers in Japan make Kei class vehicles. These Kei vehicles are: Honda Acty, Suzuki Carry, Mazda Scrum, Mitsubishi Minicab, Subaru Sambar (Fuji Heavy Industries), Daihatsu Hi-Jet (Subsidiary of Toyota). Mazda Kei Trucks known as Scrum are manufactured by Suzuki. The Kei trucks are all similar; however, there are some differences between manufactures and year of manufacture. When you put them side by side they seem to all look alike. Once you get to know them you will see the difference since they come in 2WD and the 4WD versions and the placement of the engine is different. For example Honda and Subaru both have a rear mounted engine.

What are the averages of miles driven on the Mini Trucks?

Most of our Mini Trucks average between 30,000-60,000 miles depending on the year. We can look for a vehicle with lower mileage, but the cost can be a little higher. Just let us know what you are looking for. Since we have a location in Japan and we also have a network of dealers that works with us, we can pass on the quality and price to the dealers and end users.

What is Mini Truck’s General Specification?

In general all of the Mini Trucks have similar specifications. They vary by manufacturer and year but they seem to look very similar. Some of the typical Mini Trucks features are:

  • Engines are 550cc to 660cc, liquid cooled, 2, 3 or 4 cylinder
  • Some with differential lock or axle lock
  • Fully enclosed cab for environmental protection
  • Truck cargo bed
  • Bed capacity, ~ 770lbs with fold down sides
  • Weight ~ 1500lbs
  • 2WD or 4 WD
  • About 35 to 50 HP
  • 50 mpg Plus (Varies with models)
  • Approx: Ten feet long, Five feet high and Four feet wide
  • Approx: 6’ wheelbase
  • Approx: 4' x 6' rear bed with folding sides, some available with dumps and cargo
  • 4 or 5 speed manual transmissions some with high and low ranges and automatic transmission
  • Right hand drive
  • 12 volt system
  • 5.80x12 tires ( 12" tires, aftermarket 13” tires and rims available)
  • Windshield wipers
  • Radio and heater
  • Optional air conditioner
  • Headlights for night operation
  • Full instrumentation - electric, oil, temp, etc
  • More…..

Are they Dependable Vehicles?

The Kei vehicles have been engineered and designed for years of service. They are built for dependability and years of service. Some are used as Mini Dump Truck carrying loads of gravel, where larger trucks can’t access. Regardless of the engine type or whether they are 2WD or 4WD they are very reliable. There are many mountains and hills in Japan and it is a common place to see these Kei Trucks and Vans used by the farmers to carry vegetables and goods to and from the farm. They drive up and down small rural dirt roads that barely fits mid size cars. The comfort, quality, reliability, and performance of these vehicle are able to last constant shifting of gears with reliable transmission and clutch system with efficient cooling system and superb braking system for many years of service. These vehicles operate in heavy rain, extreme cold temperature, snow and humid heat of summer and more. Some of the Mini Trucks and Vans are equipped with air conditioner with heater as standard equipment. These Kei Trucks are not golf carts or converted golf carts for utility use. Kei vehicles are built in full line automotive type factories to automotive tolerances and quality in mind for many years of reliable service.

Why used Japanese Mini Trucks and Vans?

The used Japanese Mini Trucks and Vans have been widely used around the world and are now available to the US market at a very reasonable price. The hauling capacity combined with the 2WD and the 4WD versions makes these a very attractive alternative to other open cab utility vehicles or traditional ATV's. These Mini Trucks have a cab and larger bed than any standard ATV, and gets much excellent mileage than any quad. Besides, they are very inexpensive to own. The Van version is fully enclosed to protect users from environment. These Mini Trucks and Vans were built for more fuel efficient, shorter, narrower, and lighter alternative to standard size vehicles in Japan. Mini Trucks (Kei Vehicles) regulations have evolved over the years and upgraded repeatedly to keep up with the new law and regulation, mainly to meet changing demanding emissions laws and regulations requirements. This means that through the years of production, the Japanese have really perfected the Kei Vehicles. The cost of these used Mini Trucks and Vans are very inexpensive and a great alternative to pickup trucks or regular utility vehicles. With comfort and weather protection from cab and fully enclosed Vans, many users can shelter themselves from environment and comfortably operate and utilize them. These Mini Trucks and Vans with 2WD or 4WD meet the needs of many users for a small investment.

Why are used Japanese Mini Trucks and Vans so attractive?

Many people point out the fact that the vehicle inspection also known as “Shaken” in Japanese is very expensive and strict. The fact is that these vehicles are less expensive and cost effective than other larger vehicles; however they need to meet the same standards as all other vehicles. The Japanese law and regulations are very strict when it comes to emissions, vehicle system, safety, appearance and mechanical systems. Since they need to meet the strict standards they are very well maintained. Many Japanese end up trading perfectly well maintained vehicles with many miles of dependable life left in them. In Japan, the cost of inspection, registration fee, taxes, parking fees, and insurance and license fee can be very costly in keeping older vehicles on their roads. The new vehicle registration fee lasts for three years followed by mandatory costly maintenance checks and inspection every two years. These very costly inspections keep Japanese vehicles in great running condition and shape; however these inspection fees forces early replacements of quality used Mini Trucks and Vans which are in very good condition. Therefore, these Mini Trucks and Vans become available at a very good price.

What are some of the uses and benefits of Mini Trucks and Vans?

Many users have different requirements. Although these vehicles are used for non road or off road use, they can be used for many applications. Many users utilize them for off road recreational use and many use them for farm and more… Some outdoor users utilize them for hauling supplies for camping, fishing, and hunting in the back country etc… These versatile vehicles whether it’s the 2WD or the 4WD versions they can help you do the job. Here are some of the applications that Mini Trucks and Vans are being used for: Off Road, recreational riding, outdoor activities, farms of all types, agriculture, ranchers, orchards, airport and hangars, landscapers, general contractors, maintenance, docks & harbors, marinas, search and rescue, lumber mills and yards, cemeteries, manufacturing facility, dealerships, mines, golf course, wrecking yards, storage yards, stadiums, warehouses, dairies, orchards, stables, hotels, marinas, campgrounds, resorts, theme parks, gold prospecting, schools and universities, municipalities, parks, zoos, factories, oil refineries, oil fields, movie sets, chicken processing plant, cattle ranch, security services, haulers of all kind of goods and many more.

What if I need parts?

Not a problem, we carry some parts and accessories. Some parts are used and some are new, it depends on availability and what you need. We carry a full line of OEM parts for Japanese Mini Trucks and Vans. If parts are needed to be ordered from Japan, it is usually available in about 7 to 10 days from the time the order is placed with our Parts Department in Japan. We can also load larger parts such as engines and transmissions or windshields and vehicle body parts in our container or we can have it air freighted if time is of an essence. Just get in touch with us. We will try to help you no matter where you bought your Mini Trucks or Vans.

What if I can’t find what I want?

Just ask us, we can help look for a vehicle that fits your needs. All you have to do is ask.

Can you provide Mini Trucks with diesel engines?

No; All Japanese Mini Kei Trucks come gasoline-powered.

Are they all right hand drive (RHD)?

Yes, all of our Mini Trucks are imported from Japan where their vehicles are all right hand drive. In some instances we do come across left handed drive, but its very rare.

Are they only available in 4 wheel drive?

No. These Mini Trucks and Vans are also available in 2WD. In most cases 2WD vehicles are more than enough to meet customer’s needs. Besides the 2WD version is less expensive. The Mini Trucks are for Off Road Use Only!