Daihatsu is now more determined than ever to bring its funky new Copen roadster to UK showrooms after almost 1,500 visitors to the British International Motor Show expressed serious interest in placing orders.
During the two-week show at Birmingham NEC, Daihatsu was inundated with inquiries about its stylish 660cc turbocharged sportscar with a Mercedes SLK-style hard folding roof.
Close to 1,500 show-goers expressed a serious interest in being among the first to own a Copen, should Daihatsu succeed in its on-going attempts to homologate it for sale in the UK.
Daihatsu’s technical chief, Aftersales Director, Roy Marshall, explained: "The Copen is currently only for sale in Japan, where vehicle regulations differ significantly from those in the UK and the rest of Europe.
"Prior to the Motor Show we were already working to overcome the various technical obstacles preventing our putting the Copen on sale in the UK. Now we are even more determined to find solutions in order to satisfy the obvious high demand for the car."
Should Daihatsu win Type Approval for the Copen, UK sales could start next summer with a target price less than £14,000 for a fully specified model.
Daihatsu was further delighted to receive a similar number of enquiries about the rest of its range of compact cars, including the YRV Turbo 130, the 129 PS version of the YRV due to go on sale next spring, 4x4 Terios mini-SUV, Sirion and Cuore, all of which boast excellent ‘green’ credentials.
Furthermore, on ‘Trade Day’ at the Motor Show, 28 prospective dealers from across the UK expressed strong interest in opening a new Daihatsu showroom.
This figure is in addition to the 40 new dealerships that Daihatsu Vehicle Distributors Limited has appointed since taking over the UK operation in spring 2000.
Operations Director, Paul Hegarty, said: "Dealerships are telling us that they are recognising a continuing swing towards greener and more compact cars. And, whereas most other manufacturers might have one or two ‘green’ models within their overall ranges, Daihatsu specialises in compact cars, all of which boast leading edge environmental credentials."Published 7 November 2002