Dealers overwhelmingly back call for new European “kei” class of small cars

19 Feb 2024

Dealers overwhelmingly back calls for a new class of small cars to be introduced across Europe that attract lower taxes, insurance and parking costs, new research shows.

  • 93% support introduction of equivalent to Japanese “kei” cars, new research shows
  • 72% say it would allow more people to buy a car and 62% that small models are always popular, says February’s Startline Used Car Tracker

Ninety three percent of car retailers surveyed in February’s Startline Used Car Tracker support the idea, which is based on Japanese “kei” cars and has been mooted by the European Automobile Manufacturer Association, the ACEA*.


Of those questioned, 72% say that the move would allow more people to buy and drive a car, while 62% point out that small cars are always popular with buyers and 41% that they would be ideal for city use.


There was hardly any disagreement among dealers who took part in the research but 5% did say that there were already plenty of good, small cars available.


Paul Burgess, CEO at Startline Motor Finance, said: “Japan has had kei cars since just after the war and they account for about a third of new car sales there. They are restricted in size, weight and engine capacity but bring lower road taxes and insurance, and also avoid certain parking restrictions.


“The ACEA idea is that a new class of small car similar to this, electrically powered, would provide a new option for European buyers and encourage uptake of smaller, zero emissions cars, especially in urban areas.


“Our research shows that dealers overwhelmingly back the idea. Car retailers are the people at the sharp end of motor retail and believe that such vehicles would find a ready market among used car buyers.”



The Startline Used Car Tracker is compiled monthly for Startline Motor Finance by APD Global Research, well-known in the motor industry for their business intelligence reporting and customer experience programs. This time, 301 consumers and 61 dealers were questioned.


*l’Association des Constructeurs Européens d’Automobiles