2013 - Volume #37, Issue #6, Page #15[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Business Is Booming For Japanese Mini TrucksThere seems to be more demand than ever for Japanese mini trucks, says Travis Colin, sales manager for Ranchmaster Mini Trucks in Preston, Mo. He says demand has grown because people have seen them around for a while now and feel more assured that parts and service are available.
While they’re called mini trucks and approved to drive on some roads in some states, Colin says they’re more comparable to side-by-side UTV’s sold in the U.S. But, he adds, the Japanese trucks have much more to offer for less cost ($5,000, used – to $18,000 new at the top end). Most new mini trucks sell for between $10,000 and $15,000.
“The advantages of owning a mini truck is the amount of work it can do as far as loading capacity (4 by 6-ft. bed, holds up to 1 ton), and you are protected from the elements,” he says. “That’s really important for older folks. I’ve sold a lot to 80 and 90-year-old farmers who are still out there working but don’t want to deal with the heat and cold.”
The enclosed cabs have AC and heat, and tall drivers appreciate the extended cab model. With 4-WD, dump bed and accessory options, the trucks can be set up for any job. Cattle ranchers mount brush guards and slide cube feeders in the bed. Drivers in northern states add snowplows for the winter.
Small enough (55 to 58-in. wide) to drive down the aisles of poultry and horse barns, the trucks can be used to transport feed or take out manure.
“In the off-season it’s a good hunting rig because they’re quiet,” Colin notes. He adds that the mini trucks are popular on college campuses and often used for utility trucks in cities.
They come equipped with catalytic converters to make them highway legal. With 3-cylinder gas engines, they travel up to 55 mph at an impressive 40 to 50 mpg.
“Typically I sell them to farmers and ranchers for use around the farm,” Colin says. “But some states like Oklahoma and Nebraska allow them on roads at speeds up to 55 mph. In our county (in Missouri), we can sticker them for county road use. They are not legal on any interstate highways.”
Other than new accessories and the extended cab, the models haven’t changed a lot over the years, he notes. But they have proven to be dependable.
“I get calls from people who have trucks that are 20 years old, and they need an air filter or a tune-up,” Colin says.
Ranchmaster Mini Trucks services trucks and sells parts, used trucks and new Mitsubishi and Daihatsu trucks. Sitting in the cab of the new vehicles is like sitting in a pickup cab with two notable differences - the size and the location of the steering wheel.
For mini truck owners, learning to drive on the right side of the vehicle only adds to the adventure.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Ranchmaster Mini Trucks, Rt. 1, Box 18H, Preston, Mo. 65732 (ph 417 830-2519; www.ranchmasterminitrucks.com).
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