NewsLocal News


Downsizing to small import truck helps Billings man cut costs

Posted at 6:46 PM, Apr 15, 2024

BILLINGS — Peyton Hathaway, a Billings resident, is one of a handful of people across the country opting to downsize to a small imported Japanese truck known as a kei truck.

“I was fortunate enough to pick mine up in the States. I bought it off a guy in Missoula, but most of the time you have to import ‘em straight from Japan," said Hathaway.

His 1992 Honda Acty and its three-cylinder engine are often described as "cute" by those who see it around town.

“I was actually able to pick mine up for about $5,000. It only has 40,000 miles on it," said Hathaway regarding the affordability of his truck.

Kei trucks are often at least a quarter of the price of the average pre-owned truck with comparable mileage.

“The most popular pre-owned trucks for us tend to be between that $25,000 and $35,000 range," said Nolan Fisher, general manager of Lithia Lithia Chrysler Jeep Dodge of Billings.

While the entry price was lower for Hathaway, there was a significant learning curve for his right-hand drive vehicle that cannot be used on highways and interstates due to its low engine power.

“People use their trucks not only as daily drivers, but trucks," said Fisher. "We do lots of blue-collar things with our vehicles where I don't think these smaller trucks can do.”

Hathaway said he has seen a number of kei trucks on Instagram hauling heavy duty loads like motorcycles, though he did note that there was series of replacements that he had to do when her first bought his Acty.

“Any rubber, pretty much, on the vehicle is going to need to get replaced," said Hathaway, "So far, I’m only into the truck for about, if I rounded up, about $400 or $500.”