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 |  Dec 31 2012, 6:47 AM

Suzuki may have ceased its operations in America, but the Japanese automaker continues on as normal overseas, heading to the 2013 Tokyo Auto Salon with several Wagon R models. 

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 |  Aug 16 2011, 1:00 PM

Each market has its favorites when it comes to cars. People in the Middle-East prefer powerful SUV’s like the Mercedes-Benz G-class, while in America the pick-up truck reigns supreme, especially the Ford F-150.

In Japan, the most popular car is neither big, nor powerful, but it fills the needs of most of its motorists. Since 2003, the most popular car sold in Japan is the Suzuki Wagon R.

The Wagon R is a kei-class vehicle, which means it fits in Japan’s stringent “Kei” segment. Cars in this segment, the smallest road-legal cars available. Kei cars cannot have engines larger than 660 cc, can be no longer than 11.2 feet, should have a maximum width of 4.2 feet and cannot be taller than 6.6 feet.

Despite such restrictions, all major Japanese manufacturers offer cars in this segment. And just because they are small, don’t think they have skimmed on equipment either as all-wheel drive, turbocharged engines and all sorts of electronic gizmos are available.

Between the generous equipment levels, tax breaks and fuel savings these cars provide kei-cars have become wildly popular in Japan. According to “The Japan Mini Vehicle Association” more than 50% of the cars on Japanese roads are now kei-cars. Not only are these cars popular in city centers, but the survey reveals that even in rural areas people prefer smaller vehicles.

The least popular city for such cars is the metropolitan city of Tokyo, where only 11% of household owns kei-cars, while in Tottori Perfecture, 98% of households own kei-cars.

Since fuel prices and congestion in big cities is ever increasing in North America, would this trend catch on here? We highly doubt it.

[Source: Green Car Reports]