Choro-Q - Tiny cars with huge spirit!
Choro-Q refers to a popular series of small (3-4 cm long) toy cars with coil-spring pullback motors. Choro-Q were first made by Takara (now Takara Tomy) in 1978 and were sold both in Japan and in some Western countries, where the line was rebranded "Penny Racers." The meaning behind the name Choro-Q derives from the Japanese onomatopoeia "choro-choro," a sound associated with dashing around quickly. Using this cute sound effect in the name of the product reinforces the lovable aesthetic of these petite cars. All you have to do is place your Choro-Q on the ground, pull it backwards to wind up the car's spring, let go and. . . Zoom! You can even do a wheelie by attaching a coin to the back of the car, which is where the English brand name Penny Racers comes from. These adorable little cars are so loved that their anniversary on September 9th is referred to as Choro-Q Day! Every year on that day, you can check Takara Tomy's official Twitter page to see a stream of stories, art and photos from fans celebrating the Choro-Q legacy.
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Choro-Q is famous for being pretty powerful for their small size! With minimal effort, Choro-Q dash around faster than you might expect. Because of their speed, charming appearance and affordability, Choro-Q has always been a big hit with young children. Part of Choro-Q's popularity can be attributed to the cars' unique customization options. However, this popularity has also spawned the production of low-quality copycat Choro-Q cars by off-brand imitators.
Since 1996, the Choro-Q brand and themes have also been used in racing games on multiple platforms. Many of the games have had international success, with some titles released under the Choro-Q brand, and others with titles such as Penny Racers, Gadget Racers and Road Trip. Did you know that there was even a life-size, real version of a Choro-Q car, called Q-CAR? The most ambitious brand extension of all, this wholly owned subsidiary of Takara (CQ Motors) manufactured and sold actual single-passenger, electronic automobiles modeled after the toy cars. Q-CARs are street-legal, have a top speed of about 50 kilometers per hour and a range of about 80 kilometers on a single charge! Although sales were limited and have now been discontinued, it is a remarkable feat that at one point a toy company had the highest share of electronic cars on the road in Japan.
Along with cars of all kinds, Choro-Q also boasts sales of toy airplanes, trains, robots and more. Within these subcategories of Choro-Q, there are many collections that feature Disney, Pokémon and Sanrio characters as well as promotional products in collaboration with companies like McDonald's. There is also a variety of rare limited-edition items, like the line of Choro-Q modelled after actual sightseeing bus companies from around Japan. The brand has established itself as being highly collectible, with some fans being known to collect over 4,000 Choro-Q items. Overall, Choro-Q is a lovable brand that reminds us of life's simple pleasures.