3 September 2018

More than an old car #79: Daihatsu Charade

Japanese cars are currently the most popular choice for car drivers here, and everyone would at least know about Toyota, Nissan and Mazda. However, among these big players, there are less well-known brands and their range of models, such as this 1989 Daihatsu Charade G100 and G102.

Daihatsu is one of Japan's oldest surviving internal combustion engine manufacturer, where it started out as Hatsudoki Seizou Co. Ltd. in 1907. In 1951, it adapted the kanji word of Osaka (where it was headquartered) into the company name, thus becoming "dai hatsu". It ventured into car manufacturing and began exports to the European market in the 1960s. Throughout the years, it attained lower-than-expected sales and it began to pull out of the various overseas markets, starting with the US in 1992. Toyota had also started increasing their shareholdings in Daihatsu since 1967 and in 2016, Daihatsu became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Toyota. In Singapore, the most common ones are the Daihatsu Hijet vans and the cute-ish Copen. Yet most of you would struggle to even remember this brand in the first place!

The Charade was first produced in 1977, where it became an overnight success in Japan despite stricter restrictions on emission standards for small cars. It was also popular in Latin America as the car could run on low-octane fuel, which was common back then. The 3rd generation of the Charade [G100 series] appeared in 1987. It was available in a 3/5 door hatchback, although a 4-door sedan was also offered from 1989 onwards. Different types of engines were used for different trim models, but this unit was powered by a 993 cc CB i3 engine, allowing it to reach a top speed of 145 km/h with an acceleration of 14 seconds [0-100 km/h]. It was 3610 mm long and weighed 735 kg.
For the sedan, it was powered by a 1296 cc HC i4 engine, allowing it to reach a top speed of 167 km/h with an acceleration of 11.7 seconds [0-100 km/h]. It was 3995 mm long and weighed slightly heavier at 845 kg.

Production ended in 1993 with the arrival of the new Charade generation, but it lived on in China until 2012, known as the Tianjin Xiali. With the ceaseless march towards a car-lite society, many Charades have fallen victim to the merciless COE system and thus, there are only a handful of them left here. I was therefore pleasantly surprised to come across these units again after 2 years where they are still plodding on. The period wheels lend it a nostalgic touch and its unassuming presence is characteristic of cars in that era. I hope that with this knowledge, you will be able to appreciate them before they are gone!

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