Daihatsu Motor Co., Ltd. (ダイハツ工業株式会社, Daihatsu Kōgyō Kabushiki-gaisha), trading as Daihatsu, is one of the oldest surviving Japanese internal combustion engine manufacturers, later known for its range of smaller kei models and off-road vehicles. The headquarters are located in Ikeda, Osaka Prefecture.[3] The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Toyota Motor Corporation since August 2016.

Daihatsu Motor Co., Ltd.
Native name
Daihatsu Kōgyō Kabushiki-gaisha
PredecessorHatsudoki Seizo Co., Ltd
FoundedMarch 1, 1951 (1951-03-01)
Key people
Soichiro Okudaira (President)[1]
ProductsAutomobiles, engines
Production output
1,756,302 vehicles[1][note 1] (FY2019)
Revenue ¥1,351 billion[2] (FY2019)
¥75 billion[2] (FY2019)
¥98 billion[2] (FY2019)
Total assets ¥921 billion[2] (FY2019)
Total equity ¥425 billion[2] (FY2019)
Number of employees
13,114 (April 2019)[1]
SubsidiariesPerodua (25%)


The name "Daihatsu" is a combination of the first kanji for Ōsaka (大) and the first of the word "engine manufacture" (発動機製造, hatsudōki seizō). In the new combination the reading of the "大" is changed from "ō" to "dai", giving "dai hatsu".[4]


Daihatsu was formed in 1951 as a successor to Hatsudoki Seizo Co. Ltd, founded in 1907, as part of Hatsudoki's major restructure. Hatsudoki's formation was largely influenced by the Engineering Department's faculty of Osaka University, to develop a gasoline-powered engine for small, stationary power plants. From the beginning of the company until 1930, when a prototype three-wheeler truck was considered and proposed, Hatsudoki's focus was largely steam engines for Japanese National Railways and included rail carriages for passenger transportation. The company then focused on railroad diesel engines, working with Niigata Engineering, and Shinko Engineering Co., Ltd. Before the company began to manufacture automobiles, their primary Japanese competitor was Yanmar for diesel engines that weren't installed in a commercial truck to provide motivation.

During the 1960s, Daihatsu began exporting its range to Europe, where it did not have major sales success until well into the 1980s. In Japan, many of Daihatsu's models are also known as kei jidōsha (or kei cars).

Daihatsu was an independent auto maker until Toyota became a major shareholder in 1967 as the Japanese government intended to open up the domestic market.[5] According to Toyota, it was first approached by Sanwa Bank, banker of Daihatsu.[6] In 1995, Toyota increased its shareholding in the Company from 16.8 percent to 33.4 percent by acquiring shares from other shareholders: banks and insurance companies.[5] At the time, the Company was producing mini-vehicles and some small cars under contract for Toyota.[5] Toyota, by owning more than a one-third stake, would be able to veto shareholder resolutions at the annual meeting.[5] In 1998, Toyota increased its holding in the Company to 51.2 percent by purchasing shares from its major shareholders including financial institutions.[7]

In January 2011, Daihatsu announced that it would pull out of Europe by 2013, citing the persistently strong yen, which makes it difficult for the company to make a profit from its export business.[8] Following the financial crisis of 2007–2008 Daihatsu's sales in Europe plummeted, from 58,000 in 2007 to 12,000 in 2011.[9] In August 2016, Daihatsu became a wholly owned subsidiary of Toyota Motor Corporation.

Company timeline

  • 1907 – Hatsudoki Seizo Co., Ltd. founded
  • 1951 – Company renamed: Daihatsu Motor Co., Ltd.
  • 1963 – Introduces the Daihatsu Compagno which utilized multiple bodystyles on one platform.
  • 1964 – The millionth Daihatsu is built on September 1.[10]
  • 1965 – The Daihatsu Compagno Berlina went on sale in the United Kingdom, the first Japanese car to be marketed there.[11]
  • 1967 – Starts cooperation with Toyota Motor Corporation
  • 1969 – The two millionth Daihatsu is built.[12]
  • 1971 – First generation of the Daihatsu Delta Truck model launched in Japan, a Toyota influenced four wheeled six ton cargo lorry.
  • 1975 – Begins to supply diesel engines to the original SEMAL motor vehicle company of Portugal for the new PORTARO 4X4 and TAGUS 4X4 offroad vehicles.
  • 1980 – Daihatsu builds its three millionth kei car[13]
  • 1987 – Daihatsu enters the US automotive market with the Charade
  • 1988 – Daihatsu introduces the Rocky and Charade in the US market
  • 1992 – Daihatsu shuts down US sales in February and ceases production of US-spec vehicles
  • 1998 – Toyota gains a controlling interest (51.2%) in Daihatsu Motor Co., Ltd.
  • 2011 – Daihatsu states that sales of Daihatsu motor cars will cease across Europe on January 31, 2013
  • 2011 – Daihatsu invests 20 billion yen ($238.9 million) in Indonesia to build a factory that produces low-cost cars smaller than the Toyota Etios which was launched in India in December 2010.[14] The construction had been initialized on 70,000 square meters in May 27, 2011 and would start operation at the end of 2012 for producing 100,000 cars per year[15]
  • 2016 – Toyota purchases Daihatsu's remaining assets, and therefore makes Daihatsu a wholly owned subsidiary[16]

Export markets

Daihatsu's first export was in 1953, and by 1980 half a million Daihatsu vehicles had been exported.[17] In 1979 a European main office was established in Brussels, tasked with controlling and expanding Western European exports.[13] Since the late 1990s, its exports have been steadily contracting. This has been partially offset by the sale of Daihatsu vehicles through the Toyota channel, and the sale of technology to Malaysia's Perodua.

Following the 1997 Asian financial crisis, Daihatsu closed their plants in Thailand and withdrew from the market entirely.[18] Until withdrawing in March 1998 they had mostly been selling the Mira range in Thailand, with certain local modifications.

It was reported on March 31, 2005 that Toyota would withdraw Daihatsu from the Australian market after sales fell heavily in 2005, in spite of the overall new-car market in Australia growing 7%. Daihatsu ended its Australian operations in March 2006 after almost 40 years there.

Daihatsu's operations in Chile, where Daihatsu is well known for its 1970s models such as the Charade or Cuore, were also threatened after low sales in 2004 and 2005. Toyota has stated that it intends to persist in the Chilean market for now, where only the Terios model is available.

In Trinidad and Tobago, Daihatsu has had a market presence since 1958 when its Mark I Midget was a popular choice among market tradesmen. From 1978 until 2001, a local dealer marketed the Charmant, Rocky, Fourtrak, and then later, the Terios and Grand Move which were popular. The Delta chassis remained popular from its introduction in 1985 until today. Toyota Trinidad and Tobago Ltd. (a wholly owned subsidiary of Toyota Japan) now markets Daihatsu Terios, YRV and Sirion under stiff competition.

Daihatsu announced on January 13, 2011 that sales of Daihatsu motor cars would cease across Europe on January 31, 2013. This was due to the increasing strength of the Japanese yen, which has increased prices beyond competitive levels. Daihatsu states that there is no stock of new Daihatsu cars in the UK, and they do not expect to import any cars in this interim period.[19]

Toyota New Zealand announced on April 8, 2013 that sales of new Daihatsu vehicles in the country would cease by the end of the year, citing a lack of products that would comply with future NZ regulatory standards. No additional new vehicles were being imported as of the announcement date.[20]

In April 2015, Daihatsu pulled out of South Africa.[21]

Daihatsu has also supplied cars under different badges to various automakers in the past. The company currently provides engines and transmissions to Malaysia's Perodua, which manufactures and markets rebadged Daihatsu cars locally, and sold a small number of Perodua cars in the United Kingdom and Ireland until 2012. After the launch of Perodua, Daihatsu's Malaysian operations were scaled down to concentrate exclusively on the commercial vehicles market, selling its Delta and Gran Max commercial truck chassis; Daihatsu had formerly sold Charades and Miras in the country since it first began operations in Malaysia as a joint venture in 1980.

Electrics and hybrids

Daihatsu has had a long-running development program for electric vehicles, beginning with the production of "pavilion cars" for the 1970 Osaka World Expo and continuing with the production of golf carts and vehicles for institutional use, such as the DBC-1.[22] An electric version of the company's Fellow Max kei car also followed, the beginning of a series of prototypes. The 1973 oil crisis provided further impetus and at the 20th Tokyo Motor Show (1973) Daihatsu displayed a 550 W electric trike (TR-503E),[23] the BCX-III electric car prototype and daihatsu's own EV1 .[24] Daihatsu showed more prototypes through the 1970s, for instance at the 1979 Sydney Motor Show, and then joined the Japanese Electric Vehicle Association's PREET program (Public Rent and Electronic Towncar) with an electric version of the Max Cuore kei car. The program allowed registered users access to the cars with a magnetized card and charged according to mileage used.[25]

In November 1974, Daihatsu released the Hallo (ES38V), a tilting trike powered by an electric motor and two 12V batteries.[26]

In December 2011, Daihatsu released the Pico EV Concept, a quadricycle powered by an electric motor.

The current hybrid vehicle technology is called Daihatsu Mild Hybrid System,[27] and is mainly used in the Hijet/Atrai Hybrid-IV.


In 1973 Daihatsu presented an electric tilting trike at the Tokyo Motor Show. This entered production in 1975 as the Hallo.[28] Daihatsu also released a petrol powered version using a 50 cc two-stroke engine.


Current passenger cars

Former passenger cars

Current commercial Vehicles

Former commercial Vehicles

Three-wheeled trucks

  • CF (1962) 1¼-ton
  • CM (1962) 1½-ton
  • CO (1963) 2-ton
  • PL (1962) 1-ton
  • SCB (1955), SDB
  • SKC ¾-ton
  • SDF (1956) 1-ton, SSDF 1½-ton
  • RKO (1956) 2-ton
  • RKM (1957)
  • PM, PO (1958)
  • BO (1962)
  • Midget (1957–72)
  • V300 (1966)

Racing cars


  • Sport (1963)
  • DBC-1 (1970)
  • Fellow Max EV (1970)
  • Fellow Max Hybrid (1970)
  • BCX (1971)
  • BCX-II (1972)
  • BCX-III (1973)
  • EV1 (1973)
  • Charmant Hi-Custom (1975)
  • Consorte Coupe TL (1975)
  • Okinawa EXPO'70 Electric Pavilion Car (1975)
  • Charmant Hybrid (1975)
  • BCX-5 (1985)
  • Trek (1985)
  • TA-X80 (1987)
  • Urban Buggy (1987)
  • BC7 (1989)
  • Fellow 90 (1989)
  • Hijet Dumbo (1989)
  • Sneaker (1989)
  • Marienkafer (1990)
  • FX-228 (1991)
  • Mira Milano (1991)
  • X-021 (1991)
  • Dash 21/EV Sedan (1993)
  • Midget II (1993)
  • MP-4 (1993)





  1. The FY (Fiscal Year) 2019 as reported by Daihatsu is from April 1, 2018 to March 31, 2019.


  1. "Data Book 2019" (PDF). Daihatsu. pp. 1, 5. Retrieved November 7, 2019.
  2. "ダイハツ工業株式会社 第178期決算公告" [Daihatsu Industry (Motor) Co., Ltd. Announcement of financial results for the 178th fiscal year] (in Japanese). Daihatsu. Retrieved November 7, 2019 via Company Activities Total Research Institute.
  3. "Corporate Info Archived January 27, 2010, at the Wayback Machine." Daihatsu. Retrieved on February 5, 2010.
  4. https://www.daihatsu.com/faq/index.html#A-a05 Archived January 13, 2017, at the Wayback Machine
  5. Pollack, Andrew (September 21, 1995). "Toyota Doubles Its Holdings in Daihatsu Motor of Japan". The New York Times. Retrieved December 27, 2016.
  6. "Alliance with Daihatsu Motor". Toyota-global.com. Toyota. Retrieved December 27, 2016.
  7. "Toyota to take over Daihatsu Motor". The Japan Times. Aug 28, 1998. Retrieved December 27, 2016.
  8. Strong Yen Forces Daihatsu Out of Europe {{webarchive|url=https://web.archive.org/web/20110117043948/http://www.industryweek.com/articles/strong_yen_forces_daihatsu_out_of_europe_23666.aspx} – Industry Week, January 14, 2011
  9. "New Vehicle Registrations – By Manufacturer (2011)." ACEA. Retrieved on March 8, 2012.
  10. Kießler, Bernd-Wilfried (1992), Daihatsu Automobile: Erfahrung für die Zukunft (in German), Südwest, p. 34, ISBN 9783517012254
  11. Kießler, p. 33
  12. Kießler, p. 35
  13. Kießler, p. 42
  14. "Toyota Plans Low-Cost Car for Traffic-Choked Indonesia". The Jakarta Globe. Archived from the original on August 29, 2011. Retrieved August 21, 2011.
  15. "Kontan Online – Daihatsu plans to spend Rp 2.1 trillion on new factory". English.kontan.co.id. February 23, 2011. Archived from the original on July 8, 2012. Retrieved August 21, 2011.
  16. "Toyota completes full takeover of Daihatsu". The Japan Times. Retrieved August 1, 2016.
  17. Daihatsu (stockholder brochure), Daihatsu Motor Company, 1986, p. 24
  18. Piszczalski, Martin (April 1, 2002), "Thailand Tales: Profits Still Elusive", Plastics Technology, Gardner Business Media, archived from the original on December 17, 2012, retrieved November 25, 2012
  19. "Daihatsu UK". Daihatsu.co.uk. January 13, 2011. Retrieved August 21, 2011.
  20. "Toyota New Zealand". toyota.co.nz. April 8, 2013. Retrieved April 29, 2013.
  21. "Daihatsu Pulls Out of South Africa". cars.co.za.
  22. Kobori, Kazunori (2007). ダイハツ 日本最古の発動機メーカーの変遷 [Daihatsu: The History of Japan's Oldest Engine Company] (in Japanese). Tokyo: Miki Press. p. 56. ISBN 978-4-89522-505-2.
  23. Kobori, Daihatsu, p. 60
  24. Kobori, Daihatsu, pp. 67–68
  25. Lösch, Annamaria, ed. (1981), "Electric Cars", World Cars 1981, Pelham, NY: The Automobile Club of Italy/Herald Books: 44, ISBN 0-910714-13-4
  26. "Daihatsu History". Daihatsu.com. February 27, 2013. Archived from the original on July 8, 2013. Retrieved February 27, 2013.
  27. DAIHATSU:Motor Show Archived July 4, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  28. Kießler, p. 78
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