2020 Tokyo Auto Salon, Cars, Daihatsu, International News

TAS 2020: Daihatsu Rocky Sporty Style bodykit – can Perodua GearUp do better than this for the D55L?


The recently-launched JDM Daihatsu Rocky, which along with the Toyota Raize will be sister cars to the upcoming Perodua D55L SUV, has three exterior styling packages for customers to pick at Japanese showrooms. They styles are Elegance, Powerful and Sporty – we’re focusing on the latter here.

The Sporty Style for the Rocky is essentially a Perodua GearUp type of package combining a bodykit, exterior decals and some interior trim accents. The Sporty five-piece bodykit consists of a prominent front chin spoiler, side skirts, rear lip, and a raised rear spoiler.

On the standard Rocky, the lower ring of the car is in SUV-style black plastic, but the Sporty’s add-on bits are in body colour. The package costs 200,000 yen (RM7,448). Speaking of body colour, what you’re seeing here is the new Compagno Red, which is described as a saturated colour that glows crimson with light. It’s one of three colours that can be had with a two-tone black roof effect.

The Tokyo Auto Salon showcar includes all available accessories, and we can see gloss black garnish on the front and rear fog lamp surrounds, red pinstripe accents grille and tailgate trim, a carbon-style fuel cap sticker and 16-inch six twin-spoke alloys in black. As for decals, we see fake “gills” on the fenders and twin black stripes on the hood and tailgate.

Inside, one can add on leather seats with red borders and stitching, as well as “red carbon” trim on the door handle surrounds, area surrounding the power window controls and gear lever bezel. It’s all a little over the top, but that’s the trend.

The Daihatsu Rocky is powered by a 1.0 litre three-cylinder turbo engine with 98 PS and 140 Nm. Paired to a CVT, it’s also optionally available in Japan with all-wheel drive. WLTP fuel efficiency figures are 18.6 km/l and 17.4 km/l for the AWD. Under the skin, which is very compact at just below four metres long, is the new DNGA platform.

The Perodua version of the Rocky, codenamed D55L, should surface sometime later this year. I’m putting my money on Perodua, which does the sporty look better than Daihatsu due to ample training (Malaysians aren’t very subtle in taste), doing an even better looking base face and GearUp kit than the Rocky’s Sporty style.

By the way, it has been a long time since we’re getting a P2 model that’s also on sale in Japan, so parts and tuning possibilities should be wider than usual. What do you think of this compact SUV and its Sporty kit?


GALLERY: Daihatsu Rocky Sporty Style

GALLERY: Daihatsu Rocky

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2020 Tokyo Auto Salon, Cars, Daihatsu, International News

Daihatsu Taft Concept to debut at Tokyo Auto Salon


Daihatsu is bringing its A game to the Tokyo Auto Salon next month – in addition to the usual range of outlandishly modified vehicles, the compact car expert is also debuting the Taft Concept at the show. Presaging a production model due to be launched in Japan in the middle of 2020, it’s a crossover kei car that should give the Suzuki Hustler a run for its money.

The Taft moniker was first used on a 4×4 SUV introduced in 1974, where it stood for Tall & Almighty Four-wheel Touring Vehicle. Since this new one is likely to be offered as a front-wheel drive model (with optional all-wheel drive, as is usual in Japan), the backronym has been changed to Tall & Almighty Fun Tool.

Despite being a show car, the Taft Concept is essentially a production-friendly version of the WakuWaku concept that was shown at the Tokyo Motor Show in October. It sports a similarly buff front end, featuring octagonal headlights and a beefy bumper, plus boxy black plastic fender flares and an upright glasshouse with squarish side windows.

Unlike the WakuWaku, which has hidden rear door handles and orange panelling instead of rear side windows, the Taft has regular pull handles. Daihatsu also says that the Taft comes with a large glass sunroof and a “flat, easy-to-use luggage space.” No technical details have been released, but the Taft should use the KF range of 658 cc naturally-aspirated and turbocharged engines to comply with kei car regulations.

Alongside the Taft will be a slew of funky show cars, including two versions of the new Tanto (a crossover-esque Cross Field and a Premium variant with a massive grille), accessorised versions of the new Rocky and Copen GR Sport and two modified Hijet vans. The first, a collaboration with Peaks Magazine, functions as a bouldering wall with handholds to scale the sides, while the second is a mobile disc jockey booth.

There will also be two vehicles featuring fictional characters – a Hijet adorned with virtual singer Hatsune Miku, as well as a Tanto Custom covered in Spider-Man comics.

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Cars, Daihatsu, Local News, Perodua

Upcoming Perodua D55L SUV set to debut DNGA platform in Malaysia – 1.0 Turbo engine could feature


All of us were taken aback by the presence of the Daihatsu New Compact SUV at the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show press day yesterday. We, Perodua employees included, were expecting nothing more than the four cutesy concept cars on the stand.

Only the IcoIco, TsumuTsumu, WaiWai and WakuWaku (more on these later) were on the Daihatsu stage. But behind us were two units of the New Compact SUV, without fanfare or barriers. The official press release had no mention of the SUV either, and the official presentation by Daihatsu president Soichiro Okudaira only had a cursory remark that seemed like an afterthought.

No one seems to know why the New Compact SUV was given the silent treatment. This is after all a B-segment crossover (last we checked, a hot segment globally) that’s 100% production ready to our eyes (design aside, all glass panels had the vendor’s stamp, and there’s even a security alarm sticker), and a highly relevant car to Daihatsu’s two largest overseas markets – Malaysia and Indonesia, in that order.

Its presence caught Perodua president and CEO Datuk Zainal Abidin Ahmad (pic) off guard, too. “We were surprised by it (appearing at TMS) too, because that model is not yet launched in Japan,” he told Malaysian media at a dinner meeting yesterday night.

Asked to comment on the possibility of the Daihatsu showcar being the upcoming Perodua D55L B-segment SUV, he declined to give an outright “yes”, but gave a couple of hints – enough for us to believe that this car would be coming to Malaysia in the near future as a Perodua.

“As I told Danny earlier, if you look at the model’s engine capacity – which is a 1.0 litre turbo – what does it mean? What’s interesting is that it’s a new technology of engine. I’m always thinking ‘technology for everybody’. It’s an if, I’m not saying yes or when, but if there’s anything, we’ll make an announcement,” Zainal said.

Perodua had a hand in the design of the SUV as well. On the question of whether P2 had any involvement, Zainal quipped. “If i said no I’d be lying. Because I’m very proud of our designers who are working in Daihatsu, who are part of the development.” He then revealed that there are currently 30 Perodua employees based in Daihatsu’s design department.

To the question of any other aspects that Daihatsu’s Malaysian arm had a hand in, the P2 chief said that DMC is using the Daihatsu New Global Architecture for the New Compact SUV.

DNGA is much like parent company Toyota’s TNGA platform, and has been engineered to be future proof, so to speak, for the next decade at least. It has been designed to accommodate the tech and features anticipated for the next cycle of models, which means it’s built to high specs.

“If you’re talking about the model we saw just now, we didn’t have a lot of input in terms of spec or architecture. Because the platform is actually the new DNGA. I don’t know if you can see it tomorrow (we’re paying a visit to Daihatsu’s Kyushu plant), but this car will be produced at Kyushu if I’m not mistaken,” Zainal revealed.

“But what we learned is when you create a new platform, we learn about production preparation. For example, setting up a line. When our designers work in DMC, they will share info with DMC. So if, if, we need to make this in Malaysia tomorrow, we know that it fits (the factory),” he added.

If all of the above comments aren’t strong enough hints for you, here’s one more. On whether there’s a market for the New Compact SUV in Malaysia, Zainal said: “That’s what we’re studying now, whether there’s a market for this (type of car). We’re not sure yet. Perception in Malaysia is a little different – whether a 1.0 litre turbo with that kind of body (size) will be accepted by Malaysians.

“Malaysians always feel that the engine is small but the body is big. We are now studying that perception and the technology,” he concluded.

There you have it, the yet to be named Daihatsu B-segment SUV, which will soon be made in Kyushu for Japanese consumption. Underpinned by the all-new DNGA platform and powered by a downsized 1.0 litre turbocharged engine, it could well be the base for Perodua’s upcoming D55L SUV, with a local face of course.

Of late, Perodua has been making strides in safety, rolling out active safety and driver assist features in the Myvi, Aruz and even the entry-level Axia. Is a leap in powertrain technology in the form of downsized turbocharging the next move? With this latest development, that’s likely.

This SUV prototype, should it translate to a future Perodua, would also go some way in helping the Malaysian market leader achieve its long term goal, which is to be considered based on quality and content – next to the leading Japanese brands – and not merely based on affordability.

“If you talk about Perodua, people will talk about cost of ownership, affordability and so on. But we can’t forever depend on affordability and price. We have a strategy where we want to rebrand Perodua vehicles to ‘quality’ and the sharing of technology to normal people,” Zainal said.

So, what do you think of the design and preliminary Japanese specs of the Daihatsu New Compact SUV? And how much would you pay for one?

GALLERY: Daihatsu New Compact SUV at the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show

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