- An Alabama woman bought a Kei truck for her honey bee business.
- Cindy Bryant paid $5,500 for her Honda Acty, joining other Americans buying mini trucks.
- At 5’3″, she says the truck is perfect for her height.
After Cindy Bryant’s husband watched her drive her Kei truck down a hill at 75 miles an hour, he started calling the mini Japanese pickup “may pops.”
That’s because they “may pop at any minute,” Bryant jokes, adding she doesn’t go that fast anymore.
But Bryant, a 68-year-old beekeeper, hadn’t really heard of Kei trucks until she started looking for something smaller than her Ford earlier this year.
But since paying $5,500 for a 1996 Honda Acty in March she saw on Facebook, she’s found it to be a revelation.
A retired former General Motors worker, Bryant has kept bees as a hobby for eight years and sells honey locally in Arley, Alabama through Smith Lake Honey.
“Everyone kept talking about the plight of the honey bee and how they were endangered so I thought, ‘I’ll just do that,'” Bryant said.
In March, Bryant grew tired of choosing between a small hatchback and a Ford F-350 truck to work, as neither were quite right, so went looking for something smaller.
“I’m a little girl. I’m an old little girl but I’m 5’3″,” she joked. She began looking for mini trucks after spotting one on Facebook Marketplace.
Sometimes, Kei truck owners are forced to take a leap of faith and buy from importers, not seeing the vehicle until it arrives.
But Bryant spotted a Honda truck on Marketplace from a seller she’d dealt with before on the site.
She drove to meet him with a “car guy” friend. Bryant said: “He looked it over and said ‘I would not be afraid of a Honda.'”
She uses the Kei truck to cater for her 18 hives, each housing at least 50,000 bees. The truck’s even been decorated in a honeycomb design.
Her husband will sometimes join her, but at a comparatively giant 6’3″, Bryant says he has to “fold up a little bit to get in” the Honda.
Bryant also drove the truck in a local city parade recently and the longest trip she’s taken it on was to a Bee Association meeting about 45 miles away.
Kei trucks are winning fans in some areas on ranches and farms. They’re also popular for beach trips in coastal states, Kei Car exporter Japan Car Direct’s Matthew Matusiak previously told Insider.
However, there are restrictions on some Kei trucks in certain states. They can affect the top speed and types of roads they’re allowed to be driven on.
Alabama, where Bryant lives, has few restrictions, particularly as her truck is more than 25 years old – but they are banned from interstate highways.
Bryant says she gets 50 miles a gallon in her Honda, and has only filled it up twice since March.
She admits it can get too hot, especially in her bee suit. And even at 5’3″, it can feel cramped. She’s also not sure how easy it’ll be to find spare parts.
Still, Bryant feels she’s found the right truck for her: “It is short and I am short, so it is perfect for me.”
Do you own a Kei truck? Get in touch with this reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org