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Daihatsu Says Cheap Chinese EVs Pose A Threat To Japan’s Iconic Kei Cars

The president of Daihatsu Motor has acknowledged that cheap electric vehicles from China pose a threat to Japanese car manufacturers.

For the most part, Japanese automakers have been slow to shift kei cars to electric power, providing Chinese companies with an opening into the market. Speaking with Nikkei Asia, Daihatsu boss Soichiro Okudaira said the company is committed to doing its best to rival what the Chinese have created.

“[Chinese] car design concepts are not simply an extension of what has come before. For example, the battery and motor are cooled with air instead of water,” he said. “There may be drawbacks, like not being suitable for long drives at high speeds, but costs can be kept down by limiting the anticipated operating environments. Our company will go back to the basics of automaking and think of new concepts for affordable EVs. We have to be able to compete on price.”


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