I know it’s not 2016 just yet, but based on the quality (and plausibility) of the cars they’re bringing to the upcoming Tokyo Auto Salon I’m calling it now: Daihatsu is my Car Maker to Watch for 2016. Look at this Copen shooting brake concept! It’s like a 7/8 scale dreamcar!

The Daihatsu Copen has been around since 2002, and I’ve always appreciated the interpretation of Kei-car rules to produce a car for genuine motoring fun as opposed to the usual Kei car formula (which I also love) of extreme efficiency and space utilization.

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For the 2016 Tokyo Auto Salon, Daihatsu is bringing two variants on their normally-roadster Copen: a spunky-looking little coupé, and the one that interests me the most, a shooting brake.

It’s a nicely proportioned shooting brake, too, being a little reminiscent of the BMW clownshoes and the old MGB GT. Man, I love shooting brakes.

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These cars both fit within the Kei car dimensions and specifications, meaning they’re powered by a 660cc, 64 HP inline 3 and weigh less than 2000 lbs. Of course, these are not intended for the US market — really, Kei cars aren’t intended for any market other than Japan, which is why the class is often refered to as a ‘Galapagos,’ in reference to the turtles that live only on their one eponymous island.

They’ve also got a fun-looking little tough guy, the Cast Activa concept, a ruggedized version of their appealingly retro-looking little one-box Kei car. Look how ready for action this little fella seems! I want to throw it sticks like a freaking puppy.

Even with the understanding that they’re too small for American tastes, it’s hard not to be seduced by these little jewels. How long have people been fantasizing about a Miata shooting brake, or a BRZ shooting brake? While were over here dreaming the busy folks over at Daihatsu have built one, and one that looks like it could be production-ready without too much effort.

Of course, that’s not saying they will build it. And even if they did, all we could do is wait the 25 years until Uncle Sucker lets us bring one over. Still, I’m always hoping that someone at Daihatsu will see a little blip of interest here in the U.S., and start thinking that maybe there’s people just waiting to replace their Charades with something new.

Don’t they have magic chemical embiggening machines in Japan by now? Can’t they just run these through those and scale them up by, oh, 20 percent or so?


Contact the author at jason@jalopnik.com.