December 9, 2009

Daihatsu Hijet

Well here we have it - my tuition dollars at work. Penn State has some new vans for its maintenance crews and so on. Behold, the Daihatsu Hijet in all of its 660cc glory. Apparently none of the myriad of cargo hauling vehicles the United States market has to offer are appropriate for this institution.

There are several examples of small Japanese "Kei" class vans to be found on campus this year. Most of them are just like the Hijet pictured here, but also a few Suzukis. I have to wonder however, who's decision it was to purchase these for the university. All of these vans are right-hand drive, illegal for road use, and probably rather hard to get parts for. (I wont even ponder how little time they take to rust out) They also all seem to use manual transmissions which, I'm sure, not everyone on the staff can drive.

Furthermore, how did they even get here? They're all in full Japanese domestic market spec and I would imagine imported under some gray zone of legality.

Now my only other question is why PSU decided that the Housing office needed to have a Smart Four Two...

PS: If I'm not mistaken, the last car to wear the Daihatsu name Stateside was the 1988-1992 Charade.


Sam said...

Middlebury College has Daihatsu Hijets as well, but from a lot longer ago. Considering the amount of snow we get, I am quite surprised they are still on the road. Yes, ours are right hand drive and manual too, and yes, they look like nothing you could get licensed stateside. But they seem to have done the job for our groundskeepers for at least a decade. Maybe some jealous imitation on the part of your school?

Slow Joe Crow said...

At one point Cushman was selling either Daihatsus or a Chinese knock off as a utility vehicle. I think if they are limited to 35mph they are treated like golf carts for legal purposes. I know the Oregon Zoo has some older Daihatsus ans Sunriver just bought some Chinese Kei trucks.