Finding a Mini Truck: Put Serious Bucks In Your Pocket

Finding a Mini Truck: Put Serious Bucks In Your Pocket

You know how it is . . .

You’re working hard to grow your business and beef up your bottom line . . .

And then the high cost of running your vehicles jumps in to chop away at your earnings:

·        Vehicle loan payments

·        Insurance premiums

·        Fuel Costs

·        Service & repairs

·        Registration costs

·        Property Tax

·        Regulations and Fines

Are You Tired of Throwing Your Hard-Earned Greenbacks into the Black Hole of Vehicle Costs?


Well then… a mini-truck (or van) might just be the surprising solution. 

OK… but what in the heck is a mini truck?

Mini trucks have been a workhorse staple in Japan and Asia for over six decades.

japanese mini truck

Believe me, if you visit Japan and China like I have, you’ll see mini-trucks and vans bustling around on city streets, at industrial centers, government facilities, on rural lands . . .

Pretty much everywhere – handling all sorts of jobs.

And mini-trucks come in all sorts of different models.

But what few of us in America know is that nearly 150,000 of these trucks are doing the same tasks right here in the good ol’ US of A . . .

. . . and putting serious bucks in their owners’ pockets over conventional trucks!

Whether it’s transporting goods on rural byways . . .

Working at docks and warehouses…

Delivering produce and other farm goods…

Doing landscaping and nursery care…

Maintaining hotels, resorts, and golf courses . . .

Servicing schools and college campuses . . .

Or performing an endless list of other projects . . .

You can find the tough and surprisingly durable mini truck on the job.

Mini-trucks might be smaller than traditional trucks, but they’re by no means less dependable. Fact is, mini-trucks are really well-made, manufactured by blue-ribbon automakers:

  • Honda
  • Mitsubishi
  • Nissan
  • Toyota (Daihatsu)
  • Subaru
  • Mazda
  • Suzuki

Even better, they’re durable – engineered to run for over 200,000 miles. And their compact size offers a versatility that larger trucks can only dream about.

(On top of all that, a mini truck is a blast to drive! Just wait until you take one out for a little off-road fun . . . vroom-vroom!)

In short, mini trucks are a small package that carries a big punch.

Okay, that all sounds great, but what you want to know is . . .

Is a mini truck right for me and my business?

To find out, let’s look at some of the nuts and bolts of mini trucks, which are also called “kei” trucks (like the letter “K”) from “keitora” – Japanese for light-weight.

Kei-class mini trucks come in both 4WD and 2WD, and they can handle almost any normal work setting. They can reach 55 mph (though most sold in the USA have a governor for a 25 mph top speed to meet federal regulation standards).

Their 2, 3, or 4 cylinder engines are 550cc – 660 cc in size, run on gasoline, have between 35-50 horsepower, and average 40-50 miles per gallon or better – which beats the socks off of any traditional truck or ATV.

The cargo capacity is about 775 lbs, and they have fully-enclosed cabs with the steering wheel on the right side, which takes a little getting used to. (On Chinese models, it’s on the left side. See below).

Other than that, they come equipped with the same basics as traditional trucks – wipers, heater, headlights, independent front suspension, full instrumentation, optional air, etc.

Many accessories are available for mini trucks including hitches, winches, and plows.

So, how do you go about buying a mini truck . . . ?

In America, mini trucks are sold mostly by small, local dealers such as Duncan Imports. They’re sold as “off-road” vehicles only, so that federal safety regulations don’t apply, except in 5 states (NH, ME, IL, TN, KS). In 22 states, limited use on public roads is allowed.

Chinese mini trucks, which have been in the USA for less time than their Japanese counterparts, are sold through a more standard dealership approach. The two largest dealers are Tiger Truck Industries International and Vantage Vehicle International.

That’s all good info, you say, but how do mini trucks perform in the “real world?”

A crew of landscapers I know with four mini trucks in service in San Diego said they would never go back to using full-size trucks. The mini trucks save them “a ton of dough” on gas, repairs, and insurance (only about $30 a month with Geico).

It was amazing to see how much the mini truck beds could hold (two had custom cargo walls about 5 feet high that gave them more carrying capacity for cut branches and bags of cut grass). The mini trucks were licensed in California, but they even drove them back and forth to Las Vegas on I-15!

How Much Does a Mini Truck Cost?

Most mini trucks sold in the USA are used vehicles (to limit regulations) but you can also buy them new. You’ll be looking at between $3,000 to $15,000 for a used mini truck in good working order, and from $16,000 to $23,000 for a new model – many thousands of dollars less than a traditional truck.

And as far as operating costs go, let’s see how much moolah you can save over three years with a mini truck . . .

Fuel (12,000 miles a year for 3 years) = 36,000 miles

Mini Truck: 45 mpg @ $3.70 / gallon = 36,000 miles / 45 mpg x 3.70 = $2,960

Traditional truck: 20 mpg = 36,000 miles / 20 mpg x 3.70 =  $6,660

Savings = 6,660-2,960 = $3,700

About $4,000 just in gas. That’s not chump change!

And insurance . . . ? This obviously varies somewhat, but you can expect to see an annual cost of about $400 with a mini truck, compared to about $2,000 or more with a regular truck – a savings of around $5,000 over 3 years!

Combined, that’s about $9,000 extra dollars in your pocket! And with less expensive repairs, fees, and property tax, you’ll likely see even bigger savings.

Imagine what you’d do with all that extra cash!

So . . .

Are mini trucks unconventional? No doubt!

Is a mini truck good for you and your business . . . ?

Very possibly.

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