History of the Daihatsu Applause
Daihatsu Company was one of Japan’s oldest internal combustion engine manufacturer, but making cars was not their strong fort. They had several good models of off-road vehicles and one large compact car named the Charade. Daihatsu wanted to introduce to the world something different and the idea for the Applause was born. The Daihatsu Applause started its journey in 1989. The Applause was first introduced as a compact car that will replace the Daihatsu Charmant. And Daihatsu designed it with a unique body style. They wanted to utilise the sedan market but made the car versatile as a 5-door hatchback. This new concept was first showed at the 1989 Geneva Motor Show. The Applause had the exterior loom of a 4-door notchback sedan, but in fact was a 5-door liftback with a 412L trunk.
They assembled the Daihatsu Applause at their Shiga Plant in the town Ryuo in Shiga prefecture. The Daihatsu Applause was one of the few vehicles that didn’t share a platform with any of Toyota’s vehicles. Daihatsu made the Applause in only one generation, but it had two facelifts in 1992 and in 1997. In 1998 Toyota buys more shares of the Daihatsu Company and the percentage it holds grows from around 32% to almost 52%. That makes Toyota the parent company of Daihatsu. The model got discontinued in the year 2000, because of Toyotas’ decision to replace it with a re-badged Camry due to the low sales of the model. The Daihatsu Altis replaces the compact car and it has huge success in winning the hearts of the Japanese buyers. The Altis reaps the success that the Applause never had and is being manufactured for 4 generations before its discontinuation.
1989-2000 Daihatsu Applause First Generation
During the time they assemble the Applause in the Shiga Plant, some minor problems popped out while the car was used. The most common problem was that when the car was refuelling at the gas station, it could spurt gasoline, which could lead to dangerous accidents. They equipped the Applause with a 1.6L 4-cylinder inline engine with four valves per cylinder. The engine layout of the car is a front mounted engine and front wheel drive. The transmissions available for the car were 5-speed manual and 3 or 4-speed automatic. Several months after the car's release, an All-Wheel Drive system was available. This system used a viscous coupling to transfer up to 47 percent of power to the rear wheels. Daihatsu fixed the problem in 1990 and named the model Applause Theta to show that the problems were fixed. In 1992, they released a minor facelift of the Daihatsu Applause with subtle changes to the outer looks of the car. Daihatsu also changed the engine’s fuel injection, replacing the carburettor with fuel injection and tuning it for less power to qualify for a lower insurance category for many European countries.
In 1994, the All-Wheel Drive system was stopped from being installed in the Applause. When it was released, the Applause looked very stylish, but with passaging several years, the car was now very outdated and sales were diminishing. Daihatsu thought of some way to increase the sales. But releasing a new generation of the model was very expensive and the investment of such money would most likely not be cost-effective. So Daihatsu released a second facelift for the model, hoping to increase sales. They gave the car a completely new look with new bumpers, headlights, and a small increase in length. Despite the Daihatsu’s try to increase the sales of the Applause, it was not effective at all. In May 2000, they discontinued the model by order of Toyota.