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Japan’s Mini Vehicles: Advanced Technologies, Welfare-related Equipment

In Japan, competition in the mini vehicle sector is intensifying. The popularity of mini vehicles continues to be strong driven by superior handling features, tax benefits and an aging society. Ongoing development of mini vehicles by Japanese OEMs is aimed at improving usability and driving support functions, including not only fuel efficiency but also comfortability. Furthermore, in recent years, as the number of elderly, other care recipients and their caregivers increase, there is a trend toward emphasizing the development of welfare-related equipment, especially in light wagon-type minicars.

The new Tanto, launched by Daihatsu Motor in July 2019, was designed and equipped not only for regular users but also for seniors and care recipients. Daihatsu Motor visited a nursing facility and analyzed the needs for welfare equipment. Based on the results, the automaker added movable step to a mini vehicle for the first time and an easy-to-deploy two-step slope. In addition, the seat rotation angle and the mounting position of the grip for getting on and off were optimized.

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