If you are a fan of Japanese vehicles, whether you live in Texas or not, you are likely familiar with Kei trucks. If you aren’t familiar, don’t worry, I'll give you a rundown on what they are and why people in the United States want them.

What is a Kei truck?

Kei truck is a Japanese vehicle that fits into the Kei-class, otherwise known as a Japanese mini truck. It is a small pickup truck built to be light and compact but still functional with a truck bed to transport goods.

There are also Kei cars and Kei vans that fit into the Kei-class as light vehicles. Manufacturers include Subaru, Suzuki, Mazda, Mitsubishi, and more.

101.5 KNUE logo
Get our free mobile app

Why couldn’t Texans drive one?

Due to a “lack of compliance with US environmental and safety standards” these mini trucks were not eligible for title or registration in Texas. The Texas Vehicle Title Manual also states that Kei trucks don’t meet the requirements to be considered a motor vehicle, not allowing them to be titled.

So, if you happened to have one imported, it would be considered nothing more than an off-road toy.

So, what changed?

As of April 2024, after over a decade of Kei truck fans fighting for it, the mini trucks have officially been legalized by the state at motor vehicles.

The Texas DMV stated:

“A mini vehicle includes a mini car, truck, van, and bus manufactured in a foreign country, most commonly in Japan, China, and India. The department previously determined mini vehicles were not eligible for title or registration. The department has re-evaluated the current policy and conferred with the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) regarding safety considerations and inspection requirements. DPS determined that if the vehicle passes current inspection requirements the vehicle can be registered and operated on public roadways. As a result, the department has revised the titling and registration requirements for these vehicles.

Effective immediately, mini vehicles are required to be titled and must be registered if operated on public roadways…”

Plants That Deter Mosquitoes and Other Bugs

Gallery Credit: Emily Claire

Items You Should Probably Replace This Spring

Gallery Credit: Emily Claire

4 Tips for Bringing Your Dormant Plants Back to Life

Gallery Credit: Emily Claire


More From 101.5 KNUE