Japanoid — Importing K-Cars in Canada
Japanoid is a Canadian importer of K-Cars (also called Keicars, keijidÅsha) and other extremely compact Japanese cars. You can read more about K-Cars here or on the FAQ of the site, but basically what you need to know is: "Japan is a country with very few natural resources. So the Japanese government created very smart laws that give special tax breaks to cars of certain size and efficiency. [...] K-Cars must be under 4.4 meters long and 1.5 meters wide. Their engines are also regulated to be less than 660cc - no more than 64 horsepower." Some have more powerful engines than the K-Cars specifications yet keep the extremely compact proportions.These cars were never available new in the US or Canada, but Canadian law allows their importation if they are 15 years old and pass a safety inspection before leaving Japan and one when they get in Canada. US law also allows them to be imported, but only if they are 25 years old, so de facto they are banned.
Japanoid offers exactly that: 15 years old cars, usually with a low amount of kms (since the Japanese drive less than Canadians on average), many have souped-up motorcycle engines with sophisticated turbos, superchargers and dual overhead cams, and most get fuel economy in the 50 mpg range. Prices seem to hover between CAN$5000 and CAN$7000.
Obviously they are not for everyone, in part because they are right-hand drive, but they must be loads of fun (especially the Toyota Sera and Suzuki Works). My only wish is that we get rid of the 15 years wait and import the current ones.
Thanks to Redmond Weissenberger for the tip!