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One of the first surviving Japanese internal combustion engine manufacturers is Daihatsu Motor Co., Ltd., also known as Daihatsu, which makes cars. The corporate office is situated in Ikeda, Osaka Prefecture.


As part of a significant reorganization at Hatsudoki, Daihatsu was established in March 1951 to replace the 1907-founded Hatsudoki Seizo Co. Ltd. In order to create a gasoline-powered engine for small, stationary power plants, the Engineering Department faculty at Osaka University had a significant impact on the establishment of Hatsudoki. Hatsudoki's primary concentration was on steam engines for the Japanese National Railways and featured rail carriages for passenger transportation from the company's inception until 1930, when a prototype three-wheeler truck was considered and suggested.

In collaboration with Niigata Engineering and Shinko Engineering Co., Ltd., the firm thereafter concentrated on railroad diesel engines. Before the firm started making cars, Yanmar was their main Japanese rival for diesel engines that weren't mounted in commercial trucks to give power.

1957 Daihatsu Midget
The early years of automotive manufacture in Japan in the late 1920s and 1930s, when both Ford and General Motors had constructed facilities in Japan and had a sizable market share, had an impact on the company's choice to concentrate on automobile production and related technology. Ford constructed a plant in Yokohama in March 1925, and GM opened Osaka Assembly in 1927, both of which operated until the Imperial Japanese Government confiscated both facilities prior to World War II.

Daihatsu started exporting its products to Europe in the 1960s, but it didn't achieve significant sales success there until well into the 1980s. The majority of Daihatsu vehicles are kei jidsha (or kei car) versions in Japan.


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