Daihatsu Motor Co., Ltd. (ダイハツ工業株式会社Daihatsu Kōgyō Kabushiki-gaisha), commonly known as Daihatsu, is a Japanese automobile manufacturer and one of the oldest surviving Japanese internal combustion engine manufacturers. The company's headquarters are located in Ikeda, Osaka Prefecture.[

Historically, Daihatsu was well known for building three-wheeled vehicles and off-road vehicles, while currently the company offers a range of kei car models, along with kei trucks, kei vans and other larger small cars in Japan. The company also produces entry-level compact cars in Japan and Southeast Asia, which are also supplied to global emerging markets under the Toyota brand.

As of 2023, Daihatsu's presence has been limited to Japan and Indonesia under the Daihatsu brand, and Malaysia under the Perodua brand, where the company has significant research and development resources, manufacturing facilities and sales operations.

The company has been a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Toyota Motor Corporation since August 2016. As of 2021, Daihatsu sales account for 4% of the Toyota Group's vehicle sales' total.


The name "Daihatsu" is a combination of the first symbol (kanji) of Ōsaka (大) and the first of the word "engine manufacture" (発動機製造hatsudōki seizō). In the new combination the reading of the "大" is changed from "ō" to "dai", giving "dai hatsu".


Hatsudoki SA-6, 1937

Daihatsu was officially formed on March 1, 1951, as a successor to Hatsudoki Seizo Co. Ltd, founded in 1907, as part of Hatsudoki's major restructure. Hatsudoki's formation was largely influenced by the Engineering Department's faculty of Osaka University, to develop a gasoline-powered engine for small, stationary power plants. From the beginning of the company until 1930, when a prototype three-wheeler truck was considered and proposed, Hatsudoki's focus was largely steam engines for Japanese National Railways and included rail carriages for passenger transportation. The company then focused on railroad diesel engines, working with Niigata Engineering, and Shinko Engineering Co., Ltd. Before the company began to manufacture automobiles, their primary Japanese competitor was Yanmar for diesel engines that were not installed in a commercial truck to provide motivation.

Daihatsu Midget, 1957

The company's decision to focus on automobile production and related technologies was influenced by the early days of automobile manufacturing in Japan during the late 1920s and 1930s, when both Ford and General Motors had opened factories in Japan and enjoyed a considerable market share. Ford opened a factory at Yokohama in March 1925 and in 1927 GM opened Osaka Assembly until both factories were appropriated by the Imperial Japanese Government before World War II.

During the 1960s, Daihatsu began exporting its range to Europe, where it did not have major sales success until well into the 1980s. In Japan, the majority of Daihatsu models occupies the kei car segment.

Daihatsu Compagno, 1960s

Daihatsu was an independent automaker until Toyota Motor Corporation became a major shareholder in 1967 as the Japanese government intended to open up the domestic market. According to Toyota, it was first approached by Sanwa Bank, banker of Daihatsu. In 1995, Toyota increased its shareholding in the company from 16.8% to 33.4% by acquiring shares from other shareholders: banks and insurance companies. At the time, the company was producing mini-vehicles and some small cars under contract for Toyota. Toyota, by owning more than a one-third stake, would be able to veto shareholder resolutions at the annual meeting. In 1998, Toyota increased its holding in the company to 51.2% by purchasing shares from its major shareholders including financial institutions.

Following the financial crisis of 2007–2008 Daihatsu's sales in Europe plummeted, from 58,000 in 2007 to 12,000 in 2011. Daihatsu pulled out of the European market by 2013, citing the persistently strong yen, which makes it difficult for the company to make a profit from its export business.

In August 2011, Daihatsu invested 20 billion yen ($238.9 million) in Indonesia to build a factory that produces low-cost cars under the Low Cost Green Car scheme. The construction had been initialized on 70,000 square meters on May 27, 2011 and started operations at the end of 2012, producing up to 100,000 cars per year.

In August 2016, Daihatsu became a wholly owned subsidiary of Toyota Motor Corporation. In January 2017, Daihatsu and Toyota jointly established an internal company to develop compact vehicles for emerging markets called the 'Emerging-market Compact Car Company'. Under the internal company, Daihatsu is responsible of product planning and quality planning of the vehicles, while both Toyota and Daihatsu are jointly responsible of product and business planning. To support the company, Toyota Motor Asia Pacific Engineering and Manufacturing Co., Ltd. (TMAP-EM) in Thailand was renamed to Toyota Daihatsu Engineering and Manufacturing Co., Ltd. (TDEM).

In October 2016, Daihatsu and Toyota announced a new vehicle architecture called the Daihatsu New Global Architecture (DNGA) was being developed. The second-generation Mira e:S was revealed as the first DNGA model in 2017, although the company later revised the definition of DNGA and launched the fourth-generation Tanto claiming it as the first DNGA model instead.

From 2020 to 2022, Daihatsu trained employees from less-profitable sister company Toyota Motor East Japan to improve the latter's systems on development and production of small cars.

In April 2023, Daihatsu was found to have rigged safety tests for 88,000 cars, most of which were sold as Toyota Yaris to Thailand, Mexico and Gulf Cooperation Council countries. The door trim of side-collision test cars was notched in order to minimize the risk of injury, but the modification was not applied to production vehicles.

In December 2023, the company halted shipments of 64 models, including kei, MazdaSubaru, and two dozens branded as Toyota, after safety investigations uncovered misconduct far greater in scope than previously expected. In some models, the airbag control unit used in testing was different from the part installed on vehicles sold to the public. Results of speed tests and headrest impact tests had also been falsified. The cases went back as far as 1989 and became particularly prevalent after 2014. Affected markets included Japan as well as Bolivia, Cambodia, Chile, Ecuador, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Thailand, Uruguay, and Vietnam. The company announced that it would shut down all four of its manufacturing plants in Japan until the end of January 2024.