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Could the Copen be ready for a comeback? This concept car suggests it very well could.
Back in 1999 Daihatsu introduced a nimble little roadster called the Copen. Powered by a tiny 660cc turbocharged two-cylinder engine (and later by a larger 1.3), the Copen conformed to Japan's popular kei car formula. The roadster, however, never made much of a mark outside of its home market, and about a year and a half ago Daihatsu pulled it from the European market. But it could be preparing to replace it with a new model.
At last year's Tokyo Motor Show, Daihatsu unveiled a concept called the D-X that packed the same 660cc turbo engine as the original Copen but in a more up-to-date form. The concept was unveiled in various body-styles as a roadster, a panel van, an off-roader and even a track car. But that was the last we saw of the D-X. That is, until now. At the Indonesia International Motor Show, Daihatsu unveiled an updated take on the concept called the D-R. The same 660cc turbo two-pot carries over, but (as you can see from these photos) in a more attractive style that includes interchangeable resin body panels to make the proposition more adaptable.
No plans were announced to put the concept into production, but the fact that Daihatsu brought it back in a new form altogether suggests that the idea is still being batted around the company's headquarters in Osaka - and perhaps more importantly, at the headquarters of parent company Toyota.