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What is a “minor change” or “full model change” of a car? (AKEBONO)

Minor changes and full model change

Minor changes-"refresh" by car manufacturers, describes a minimum change to a model which normally also coincides with a model year change.

A model change refers to changing the exterior, interior, structure, engine, etc. without changing the name of the car.

The model change is roughly divided into two, which is called a minor change and a full model change.

Minor change refers to changing the interior and exterior of the car. There are no changes to the engine or major parts. Minor changes include changing only the exterior design, as well as large-scale changes such as changing parts such as headlights and grills. Minor changes are generally made in cycles of 2 to 4 years. The car before the minor change is called the early model 前期 (“zenki”), and the car after the minor change is called the late model 後期 (“kouki”). Even the slightest change is considered a minor change, so there are many cars that you can't tell at a glance that the change has been made.

A full model change means changing not only the interior and exterior, but also the engine and vehicle structure like a minor change. Due to the large-scale change, when you check the vehicle inspection certificate, you can see that the model has changed even if the car has the same name. Some of them have undergone a full model change, with only the name being the same, but the car itself being different. The full model change cycle is generally 4 to 6 years. In the case of imported cars, some cars have not undergone a full model change for more than 7 years, and domestic cars also have a longer cycle of full model changes.

Minor changes and full model changes are completely different even if they are the same change. Minor changes are mainly changes to the exterior and interior, while full model changes are large-scale changes that change the engine, structure, and even the interior of the car. Therefore, compared to 2-4 years for minor changes, full model changes take 4-6 years, more than twice as long.

There is also a word “big minor change”.

There was a time when full model changes were done in the same cycle as minor changes are now. Part of the reason for this is the high percentage of people who changed cars in a short period of time, partly because of production planning. Along with that, the period of full model change became longer. Due to the lengthening of the full model change period, many minor changes have been made. Among them, the word big minor change has been used recently. A big minor change is a radical change in the exterior and interior such as the headlights and grill, as mentioned above.

Advantages of buying a car before model change:

You can buy a new car at a discounted price. Cars before the model change will drop in price so as not to leave inventory. In particular, when it comes to a full model change, the structure of the engine and vehicle will change, so you may be able to negotiate a further significant price reduction.

Fewer recalls

Vehicles that have undergone a full model change tend to be subject to recalls due to changes in the structure of the engine and car. On the other hand, the cars before the full model change have been sold for a long time, so in most cases the recalls have been resolved and you can drive with peace of mind.

Easy to test drive

Full model changes are announced more than a year in advance, so there are many cases where pre-orders are sold. If you don't test drive, you won't be able to understand the actual ride comfort and steering wheel operation, and it may be different from what you imagined.

Advantages of buying a car after a model change

You can drive the latest car for a long time

You can drive the latest car for a long time If you buy a car after the model change, you can drive the latest car for a long time. Even if you make a minor change, it won't change as much as a full model change.

Ride in a car with the latest performance

The car after the model change combines the latest technology and design in everything from the engine, safety performance, driving performance, exterior and interior. Purchasing after a full model change allows you to ride in a car with the latest performance.

Higher trade-in price

Before and after the model change, there is a considerable difference in the price of used cars. A few years later, when you trade in the same car, the trade-in price will change significantly before and after the model change.

Minor changes

Full model change

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