Daihatsu Discloses Details of Copen Sports Convertible

Apr 10, 2014
Motohiko Hamada
The prototype of the Copen sports convertible
The prototype of the Copen sports convertible
[Click to enlarge image]
An X-shaped reinforcement reflected on a mirror placed under the vehicle facing right. The color of the floorboard is different from that of the reinforcement because this is a prototype.
An X-shaped reinforcement reflected on a mirror placed under the vehicle facing right. The color of the floorboard is different from that of the reinforcement because this is a prototype.
[Click to enlarge image]
The tank of the vehicle. The diamond patterns prevent buckling.
The tank of the vehicle. The diamond patterns prevent buckling.
[Click to enlarge image]

Daihatsu Motor Co Ltd showed a prototype of the Copen kei sports convertible to the press prior to its official announcement scheduled in June 2014.

Because the specifications of the vehicle had not been completely determined yet, stickers were attached to the outside of the vehicle for disguise. But Daihatsu prepared a slalom course, showing its confidence in the vehicle's drivability.

Currently, Daihatsu is not manufacturing cars in the Copen series. So, the new Copen will be "relaunched." But the company started to develop it in January 2010, when it was still selling the previous model.

"We would like you to consider it as a fully-remodeled version of the previous model," the company said.

This time, Daihatsu disclosed some of the technologies employed for the vehicle. Its outer panels are made of resin except for the doors. Because the outer panels of the production vehicle to be announced in June can be replaced, they had to be made of resin. But the company aimed to realize both replaceable outer panels and a lower weight. In fact, with the outer panels made of resin, the mass of outer panels was reduced by about 2kg from 5-6kg to 3-4kg.

Also, the interior appointments of the vehicle can be replaced. The company will announce details of it in June.

The front and rear fenders, front and rear bumpers, right and left rocker panels, fuel lid and hood outer are made of PP (polypropylen). The hood inner, roof, back panel, luggage, etc are made of SMC (sheet molding compound). Daihatsu employed SMC for horizontally-positioned parts to which a bending force is applied due to their own weights.

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