Daihatsu etymology: What does its name mean?

Daihatsu is an avowed small and mini car specialist, and although it has left most markets outside of Asia, have you ever stopped wondered what its name means?

In kanji (Chinese characters adapted for Japan), Daihatsu is written as 大発 (pronounced Daihatsu). 大 is the first character in kanji form of Osaka (大阪市), while 発 is the first character in the kanji forms of the phrase 発動機製造 (hatsudoki seizo) or engine manufacturer.

As its name suggests, Daihatsu is based in Osaka. The company was founded in 1907 as Hatsudoki Seizo and sprang from Osaka University’s efforts to develop large gasoline engines for power stations.

The company was renamed Daihatsu in 1951 as it began concentrating more on developing cars and car engines. Daihatsu has been majority owned by Toyota since 1988, and will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Toyota in August 2016.