At present there are eight Daihatsus for sale in Denmark. Let’s peer in the dirty side glass of one of them. Nothing if not exclusive, these cars.
By way of a little contrast, anyone wanting something more common can choose from 87 Ferraris, 33 Aston Martins, 621 Porsches or 48 Maseratis. People feeling insecure about the rarity of their Rolls-Royce can be assured that there are only nine of them on sale this week, making it almost as exclusive as a Daihatsu. Those numbers are probably reasonable guides to the relative scarcity of these cars.
Unfortunately for this article, none of the Daihatsu’s on offer are genuinely bad. Even the Cuore has its merits. Unlike many purportedly small vehicles, the Cuore genuinely is small. If you park one next to the current favourite in the Danish small car market, you see how truly vast those 1007’s/Aygo/C1’s really are. Most importantly, as Bristol owners will remind us, the Cuore is narrow as well as being short and not very high. That gives the car real manoeuvrability which the PCT trio lack.
The cheapest Daihatsu you can buy as a private customer is a 1999 Cuore for 10,000 kr which I am sure you could knock down to whatever you had in cash. More interesting than the car itself is the Danish custom of calling second cars “konebiler” which means “wife cars”. You’d expect a little more gender neutrality in Denmark, wouldn’t you? And you’d expect a little less of what academics call “heteronormativity” too.
Outsiders tend to view Scandinavia as a homogenous lump of frozen north, draped in pickled herring and ironed flat by social equality. Closer inspection reveals variations from the simple picture. There are differences and Denmark is in some surprising ways more classically liberal than Sweden or Norway. That means the country has been leaning slightly but ever so consistently rightward in recent decades. It also means that there are sprinklings of Scandinavian macho in evidence. The “konebil” term is one of them. You never hear of a “dad car”. Dads don’t take much paternity leave compared to the Swedes. There are a lot of guys sporting beards and moustaches too, especially among the under 30’s.
If you take a closer look at the Cuore’s history you realise that the width which I discussed above is not an insignificant detail. It is the giveaway that the Cuore is a kei-car (like the Daihatsu Move). The 1999 Cuore here is the L500 series, launched in 1994 …. I will digress massively here. We blithely talk about the E32 BMW and W210 Mercedes and sometimes the B3 or B4 VW Passat. I notice people seldom talk about Daihatsu in these terms. So, I suggest that you memorise the series codes for the Cuore and guide the conversation around so that you can refer to them. They are: L55 (1980), L70 (1985), L200 (1990), L500 (1994 and that one will come up most so be sure to remember it). For bonus points, the Move was L600. And to continue this stream of digression, the 1998 Move (L600 or L900) was designed by Giugiario.
Not on sale at the moment is a Sirion 1 or a Daihatsu Copen. Daihatsu stopped marketing cars in the European market in 2013. The high value of the yen made it hard to sell the cars profitably. So, Daihatsu is not unlike Lancia, Saab and Rover, a brand of orphan cars.