The Japanese manufacturer Daihatsu launched their single-seat mini-truck in 1957. Over the course of time, many different vehicles have carried the Midget nameplate with an only common feature of having single-seat practical design with an encircled or semi-encircled cab style.
Originally, a DK Midget was a single-seat, doorless cab with a handlebar steering. It was launched for the first time in 1957 and powered by a 250 cc air-cooled, 2-stroke design engine, delivering 10 hp (7 kW).
The MP Midget was launched in 1959 featuring a steering wheel, doors and seating arrangement for two passengers. It was powered by a 305 cc air-cooled, 2-dtroke engine, delivering 12 hp (9 kW).
The MP design had undergone frequent changes over the course of its production and eventually came up with an MP4 version that featured a relatively larger cargo bed than the original MP design. These subsequent changes finally resulted in the production of MP5, which featured an automatic oil mixing system for the 2-stroke engine. The production of MP5 version was ended in 1972.
About 336,534 units of Midget I had been produced until 1972. However, the continuously dropping sales of the Midget I forced the Daihatsu to cease its production. The raising popularity of 4-wheeled models over 3-wheeld models was the major reason behind the failing sales of Midget I.
The Midget sales were not limited to Japan and it was exported to other countries as well where it was marketed as the Bajaj, the Tri-Mobile, or the Bemo. The Midget I was regarded as the first of its kind that was popular for its low cost as well as practicability. In South Asia, the Midget was a mark of public transportation because of its excessive use as an autorickshaw or tuk-tuk in some markets. Certainly, it was not made as performance vehicle, but a small cab for daily chores. Nowadays, it is extremely tough to find any tuk-tuk running on the road.
As for Thai market, the Midget MP4 version is yet produced under Chinnaraje Midget name in Chiang Mai and also under TukTuk Midget MP4 name in Bangkok. The MP5, a facelifted version is also produced by the Thai automaker TukTuk Company Ltd, in Bangkok, Thailand.
The second generation of Midget was introduced in 1996 as a 4-wheeled small Midget. It was offered with an option of all-wheel drive and air-conditioning. Being a kei vehicle, it was powered by a 660 cc engine.
Originally, the Midget II was revealed for the first time at the Tokyo Motor Show in 1993 as a concept. It was offered with two engine choices, both of which were distinguished by their injection type, i.e. one of them was electronically injected. As for height and width, both the versions were similar, except for the EFI (Electronic Fuel Injection) version slightly shorter by 75 mm. both the models were offered either as single-seater or double-seater body style. Both automatic and manual transmissions were offered.