• Kyodo

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Mitsuoka Motor Co.’s luxury classic hearse is now available in Taiwan, after the island was chosen as its first export destination.

The automaker believes the design of the Mitsuoka Limousine Type V, with its large radiator grill and round headlights, will provide a rare and premium experience.

In Taiwan, regular cars cannot be converted for use as hearses so remodeled imports such as Mercedes-Benz and Volvo cars are used. But there are very few classic hearses, according to Mitsuoka Motor.

The Mitsuoka Limousine funeral car comes in black or white, with a leather roof. The model, a modification of a Nissan Motor Co. left-hand drive car, has cleared Taiwan’s vehicle inspection process.

The automaker, based in Toyama Prefecture, is known for the distinctive designs of its Orochi supercars and Viewt classic cars.

A Taiwan company attracted to the automaker’s unique designs approached Mitsuoka Motor about exporting its hearses to the island.

After sealing a local distribution deal in 2015, Mitsuoka Motor started selling the hearses last October, aiming for sales of 10 vehicles a year. So far, three have been sold.

A big factor hampering sales is the $140,000 price tag, nearly double its Japanese price due chiefly to a tariff.

“In Taiwan, people value family and friends, and place great importance on ceremonial occasions. We believe this car is suitable for such occasions,” said Mitsuoka Motor Director Taishin Mitsuoka, 48.

He said the company plans to export the classic hearses to Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong, adding, “We intend to make it the ultimate car in which people hope to take their final ride.”

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