December 9, 2009
Written by Ian Rothwell
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.