Posts Tagged ‘car’

Car Watch: Toyota Regius and Vans

November 28, 2008

In continuation of our series, the Toyota Regius is a van made in Japan that is often exported throughout the world. There are many different sub-models that you’ll be able to find. That means you can find passenger versions, cargo models, a combo passenger/cargo type. Also they can be extended in length and height, they can be Deluxe versions, or stripped versions (useful for business purposes). You can also find many of them have duel sliding doors. There many choices to choose from (something you’ll see typical in Japan), and if the Regius styling isn’t your taste, there also many other van and people/cargo movers that are available in Japan.

For example, JCarBuys has a 2000 Toyota Regius Super GL with some photos available:

LH172 - 2000 Toyota Regius エース V Super GL D - white2 LH172 - 2000 Toyota Regius エース V Super GL D - white2 LH172 - 2000 Toyota Regius エース V Super GL D - white2 LH172-0036331-1 LH172-0036331-2 LH172-0036331-3

When you are looking for quality used vans and cargo/people movers, Japan offers many vehicles of various sizes, uses, and designs. Japanese used car exporters are often more than willing to help you purchase such vehicles.

Advertisements

Car Watch: Mercedes-Benz A-class

November 18, 2008

Looking around to find the most opposite vehicle I could to the last car we’ve highlighted (the Toyota Landcruiser Prado), I found the 2001 Mercedes-Benz  A-class 5d  A160. Compared to the Landcrusier Prado, there seems nothing similar except that it’s a vehicle. The A-class is a much smaller 5door (hatchback), German, in the sub-compact class, much more efficient (13.2km each liter or 4.9L for each 100km), and much different styling. Here’s some photos of the vehicle:

WDB168033 - 2001 Mercedes-Benz A-class 5d A160 - silver WDB168033 - 2001 Mercedes-Benz A-class 5d A160 - silver WDB168033 - 2001 Mercedes-Benz A-class 5d A160 - silver

It’s not a beast. It’s the complete opposite. Maybe you or your customers are looking from something that is effecient and fitting for a city. Having such a small car (although not a Kei) is a big benefit in many ways. Also, perhaps you can find the European look stylish to your taste. However it is, if you or your customers are liking this, don’t forget that you can get them in Japan. Japan has both LHD and RHDs of these models (although more often you will see RHDs).

Car Watch: Toyota Landcruiser Prado

November 14, 2008

The Toyota Landcruiser Prado has been a very popular SUV in Japan and other nations. The most obvious difference of it (the Prado) and the normal is that it’s noticably smaller. It goes by the name Lexus GX 470 in the United States, but it is still called Land Cruiser Prado in many other countries such as Australia, South Africa, and in the Middle East and Latin America.

To give an example, our friends at JCarBuys have a 2007 Toyota Landcruiser Prado available on stock. Here are some photos of how it looks:

KDJ120 - 2007 Toyota Landcruiser Prado TX-LIM - Black KDJ120 - 2007 Toyota Landcruiser Prado TX-LIM - Black KDJ120 - 2007 Toyota Landcruiser Prado TX-LIM - Black

As you can see, the Prado is very attractive and popular with importers in many countries that desire or need these types of vehicles. They also come with a lot of equipment. Here a list of some things you can see found in this type of car:

automatic air conditioning (climate control), anti-lock brakes, alloy wheels, power steering, power windows, sun roof, supplemental restraint system (air bags), four wheel drive, cd player, television, navigation, leather seats, stereo, tiptronic, 7-seats, and more.

Remember when your looking at different years in the Land Cruiser Prado model range, there are different different model generations:

  • First came the LC 70-Light series built on the J7 platform which was between 1984 and 1990
  • Second came the LC 70-Series also built on the J7 platform from 1990 to 1996
  • The LC 70-Series was replace by the LC 90-Series (J9 platform) during 1996 which last till 2002
  • Currently, the LC 120-Series has been in production on the J12 platform since 2003

You might want to consider such a vehicle for you and your customers if small, classy SUVs are popular in your country.

Information source – Wikipedia

Exports and the Economies

October 14, 2008

Right now the world is experiencing ups and downs in its economy. Besides US, Japan also has been affected. What about your country?

Data has not been yet produced (we’ll have to wait about a month), but has it been affecting your sells/purchases? While nations connect more directly to Western nations haves seen some fall, the are also many nations that continue to experience growth. Please let us know how your nation is doing in the comments section below.

Stats Review: JDM Used Car Exports in 1st Half 2008

September 4, 2008

I was able to obtain the statistics of how many used passenger* cars have been export from Japan during January to June. The statistics do not include trucks and other commerical/non-passenger type vehicles.

Overall Used Passenger Exports from January 2008 to June 2008

Car Units: 579,582
Value: ¥352,310,171,000
(or at today’s exchange rate: $3,249,516,575)

Over three billion (milliard) US Dollars! That’s a whole lot of money for used cars alone.

Top 10 Destinations

Rank Country      | Car Units | Value(Japanese Yen)
  1: RUSSIA       | 260,008   | 163,251,031,000
  2: CHILE        | 55,461    | 11,744,217,000
  3: UAE          | 37,167    | 9,321,093,000
  4: NEW ZEALAND  | 35,640    | 17,991,266,000
  5: MONGOLIA     | 14,322    | 4,342,595,000
  6: KENYA        | 13,013    | 7,342,810,000
  7: SOUTH AFRICA | 12,904    | 3,545,133,000
  8: SINGAPORE    | 12,894    | 21,078,435,000
  9: MALAYSIA     | 12,746    | 25,317,559,000
  10: BANGLADESH  | 10,208    | 10,706,168,000

Russia remains #1 way ahead of everyone as Japan is supplying their used car market rapid expansion. Others continue to remain strong, although old partner New Zealand has slowed down its imports since the new emission regulations have taken affect. Newcomers to the Top 10, Mongolia and Bangladesh, have seen recent sharp rises due to mostly political and somewhat economical changes. They’ve replaced Pakistan (19th) – which has gone through extreme political unrest, and United Kingdom (11th) which has seen reduced demand that is possibly related to economic downturn/unrest.

Together, the top 10 represent roughly 80% of the used passenger vehicles exported from Japan and 78% of the total value of the cars. Thus the top 10 importers hold a landslide majority of sales Japanese used car exporters have made.

Top 20 & 50

Adding the next 10 (Top 20) would make it 90% of car units and 88.5% of total cash amount. Counting the top 50 together will make it roughly 99% of both car units sold and total value.

Draw you own conclusions. The data is quite clear, and if your an exporter, you should have a clear idea what to do. If you want to look at the full data, you can do so by going to:

Japanese Used Passenger Car Export Statistics : January 2008 to June 2008

Note: Car Units and Value data for each country comes from Japan Customs Statistics Office. All other data is calculated by me. Percentages and VPUs are rounded to simplify view.

Philippines Imports Subdued

August 15, 2008

Philippines Gov has taken great lengths to shut down all illegal importing of used passenger cars.  It was a thriving business, but it depended on corrupt custom’s officials. As it reached nation attention, those who were abusing their power were removed and illegal imports were being confiscated. It seems for at least the short term that car imports are frozen.

HOWEVER… Importing diesel commercial vehicles is legal and still being done.  Most importing is done through  the Subic Bay Freeport Zone and the vehicles are converted to LHD.

Philippines Ban On Import Cars Questioned

August 5, 2008

Since our last post on the situation in Phillippines (read Import News For Phillipines), a series or rapid event have been taking place. It was just recently revealed that 5 government agencies purposly neglected to uphold the ban and there are a number of senators that disagree with the ban.

Just at the end of last month a Supreme Court ruling ruled in favor of the ban. But senators are still defying the ruling they feel is wrong. The problem is that the ban is an Executive Order (EO) made by the President rather than a bill/law passed by the Senate. The senators in objection feel that this area the EO affects is the Senate’s territory.

We must wait to see what will be the result of this: Either the ban stays and questionable import practices are stopped or the ban might be lifted. It’s question of who has the most authority.

Source – Inquirer.net

Cyprus See Increase of Used Car Imports

July 24, 2008

Recently, there has been some increase of import used cars to Cyprus attributed to two things done by the Government. First, access to importing used cars has increased as anybody can import a used car. This increases the overall amount of importers (and customers to exporters).

The second policy that help increase trade was a move by the government to get old cars off the road and replacing them with new, more recent models. Owners of cars that are older than 15 years were offered money to replacing their vehicle with more environmentally friendly cars. People could get between 256 Euro and 1,708 Euro depending on what they were withdrawing from registry or how effiecent a car they were buying.

The Cyprus government find this scheme as a huge sucess for the country and the environment. They are looking forward to possibly continuing the scheme in 2009.

Source – Cyprus Mail

The Bahamas Getting Heat From WTO

July 9, 2008

WTO – World Trade Organization – is an excellent organization to increase trade between participating countries. That why most nation have an agreement with WTO or are trying to join. Of course, free trade must go both ways (export and import) to be truely free. And WTO job is to make sure are countries are fair.

So how does this related to Japanese used car exports and the Bahamas? Well it might not be important to all exporters, but there are some that do export to the Bahamas. For those who do and appreciate small country news, the Bahamas might have to relax it tariffs if they don’t find a good excuse (and maneuvering) on why they should maintain their high tariffs for transport sector imports.

Because 40% of the Bahamas’ imports are transport related (new and used cars, parts, and fuel), they’ve grown used to the extra revenue and need to keep the budget balanced. WTO says this is violation of free trade and an act of protectionism. If the Bahamas’ government doesn’t make a reason to keep high taxes (such as for “enviornmental reasons”), they may be forced to reduce tariff rates for imports.

Japanese Auto Auction Series Part 6 – TAA

July 1, 2008

TAA Japanese Toyota Auto Auction Logo

Official Website: taaweb.jp
Established: 1967
Locations: Chubu, Fukushima (Tohoku), Hiroshima, Kanto, Kinki, Kyushyu, South Kyushyu (Kagoshima; Minami Kyushyu), Okinawa, Yokohama
Auctions Held: Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays

TAA (Toyota Auto Auction) is another type of auto auction found in Japan. This group of 9 auction house was created for Toyota dealers to sell any unwanted cars, such as older cars customers traded in while buying from the dealer. Not only are there such auctions available for Toyota dealers, but there is HAA (Honda), SAA (Suzuki), SUAA (Subaru), NAA/NTAA (Nissan), MAA (Mitsubishi), and IMA (Isuzu).

One advantage TAA has over most of it competing auto auctions is that they publish higher quality images of vehicles from the inspection. While most auto auctions have 300px by 225px photos of the cars, TAA saves photos at 640px by 480px. So in a real way TAA gives auction bidders a “clearer” picture of what condition the car is before the auction begins.

More information is available on the Japanese website: TAA Web (Japanese)

Related:
Japanese Auto Auction Series Part 1 – USS
Japanese Auto Auction Series Part 2 – JAA
Japanese Auto Auction Series Part 3 – Zip
Japanese Auto Auction Series Part 4 – AAAi / ARAI
Japanese Auto Auction Series Part 5 – Bay Auc

Bangladesh Investigates New “Used” Imports

June 24, 2008

The National Board of Revenue (NBR) of Bangladesh is looking into the possiblity of people importing brand new cars as “reconditioned” cars, mostly from Japan.

As many Japanese used car exporters are aware, brand new vehicles are quickly registered and de-registered to circumevent Japanese laws forbidding anyone besides the manufacturer from exporting new vehicles. Technically, in the eyes of the law these are no longer brand new vehicles, just new or “as-new” vehicles. Why this matter to Bangladesh NBR is that they make 50% higher import duty on cars imported as new.

To counter this, it is proposed for the new budget that for a vehicle to be considered a “reconditioned” car, it must have a space 365 days between registration and deregistration and have clocked at least 1,000 km of mileage. They hope this will close the loop hole.

It’s not all bad news for importers though. Also in the proposed budget, the government will reduce supplementary duties from 60 percent to 20 percent on import of ordinary non-luxurious microbuses with and engine size between 1500 to 1800 CC which are used for transportation of industrial raw materials and/or passengers.

Source – The New Nation

New VRT Rates Start 1 July 2008 for Ireland

June 20, 2008

From 1 July 2008 in Ireland, Category “A” cars will be taxed based on the level of CO2 emissions and not engine size as before. Also, the 50% discount of VRT payable for hybrid electric and flexible fuel vehicles is replaced by VRT relief of up to €2,500 depending on the car’s age (for hybrids only). This will only apply to car registered after 30 June, while cars imported before will continue under the old system.

According to The Irish Revenue Commissioner’s Leaflet:

New Tax Regime

From 1 July 2008, VRT payable on category A vehicles will no longer be based on the engine size but rather on the level of CO2 emissions from the car. Linking the VRT rates to the level CO2 emissions will mean that individuals purchasing cleaner, low emission cars will pay less VRT while those opting to purchase higher emitting vehicles will pay more.

A seven-band CO2 emission system will apply. VRT will now be charged as a percentage of the OMSP (Open Market Selling Price) in accordance with the following table:

CO2 Emissions (CO2g/km) VRT Rates
0 – 120g 14% of OMSP
More than 120g/km up to and including140g/km 16% of OMSP
More than 140g/km up to and including 155g/km 20% of OMSP
More than 155g/km up to and including 170g/km 24% of OMSP
More than 170g/km up to and including 190g/km 28% of OMSP
More than 190g/km up to and including 225g/km 32% of OMSP
More than 225g/km 36% of OMSP

Importers of Japanese used cars must have the CO2 Emissions levels declared on their Export or Deregistration Certificate, or have a printout emissions certificate for your particular model from the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport. If you don’t have proof, you will be charged the highest rate (36%) regardless of how efficient the car is.

Also, as an incentive to by eco-friendly cars, you can get reductions based the car age for hybrids. That is, the younger the car is, more money is deducted. Of course there is a minimum amount that still must be paid, but here are the discount rates:

Hybrid, flexible fuel and electric vehicles

The current relief of 50% reduction of the VRT payable on Hybrid and Flexi Fuel vehicles is withdrawn from 30 June 2008.

A VRT remission up to a maximum of €2,500 will be available on such cars registered between 1 July 2008 and 31 December 2010.

This relief is limited, on a sliding scale, depending on the age of the vehicle. The scale is as follows:

Age of vehicle Maximum amount which may
be remitted or repaid
New vehicle, first registration €2,500
Not a new vehicle but less than 2 years €2,250
2 years or over but less than 3 years €2,000
3 years or over but less than 4 years €1,750
4 years or over but less than 5 years €1,500
5 years or over but less than 6 years €1,250
6 years or over but less than 7 years €1,000
7 years or over but less than 8 years €750
8 years or over but less than 9 years €500
9 years or over but less than 10 years €250
10 years or over Nil

With effect from 1 January 2008 to 31 December 2010, series production electric vehicles and electric motorcycles are exempt from VRT.

Note: There is no change for Category B (crew cabs, etc.), Category C (commercial vehicles) or Category M (motorcycles – other than electric motorcycles).

-Source: Change to the Tax Base

Importing Japanese Car Info Video

June 19, 2008

A little video for your enjoyment with a little reminder of where to go for information on importing Japanese used cars from Japan.

Japanese Auto Auction Series Part 4 – AAAi / ARAI

May 12, 2008

Official Website: www.araiaa.jp
Established: 1920; Incorporated: 1956
Number of Auction Sites: 4
Auctions Held: Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday
Locations: Bayside, Fukuoka, Oyama, Sendai

This auction company has two names attached to it which can be confusing. Don’t be mistaken, it is one company being referred to: ARAI. AAAi simply means “ARAI Auto Auction international”. They have this longer name because they are capable of directly shipping the vehicles from the auction. This can reduce you FOB costs if your export agent takes advantage of this offer.

ARAI is a very diversified auction group in that they have many specialised auction meetings. On Tuesdays they have two locations where they sell 2 wheelers (motorcycles and such), Bayside and Fukuoka, and one location, Sendai, that sells four wheelers (cars). On Thursdays, Oyama has a 4 wheeler (car) auction. On Fridays, Bayside then switches to also sell cars. Finally on Saturdays, Oyama opens up an auction called VT auction (Van & Truck) specialising in the larger vehicles of the market such as commercial vehicles.

ARAI Auto Auctions provides a large assortment of vehicles to choose from and somewhat sorts them out according to type. This is useful for your auction agent (your exporter) to organise his schedule better to fit more auctions in for you.

For more information about other Auto Auctions such as ARAI/AAAi, join our Newsletter.

Related:
Japanese Auto Auction Series Part 1 – USS
Japanese Auto Auction Series Part 2 – JAA
Japanese Auto Auction Series Part 3 – Zip

Top Importing Countries in Feburary 08

April 2, 2008
  1. Russia = 40,690
  2. Chile = 10,055
  3. UAE = 7,363
  4. New Zealand = 7,227
  5. Malaysia = 2,564
  6. South Africa = 2,139
  7. Mongolia = 1,759
  8. UK = 1,703
  9. Singapore = 1,646
  10. Cyprus = 1,612

Mongolia has been recently got more hungry for cars. New Zealand is feeling the restriction. Russia remaining as strong as ever. Chile has recently seen a rise of imports being the gateway to South America. Another hubs, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates are keeping steady, if not growing slightly.

Importing Modified Cars

March 31, 2008

Japan is a great producer of performance road vehicles. Names such as Impreza, Skyline, RX-7/8, Soarer, among many others all come from the Japanese. Many of these many of these low and mid-level racing class vehicles have many aftermarket parts that improve performance or appeal. Can you import cars that have aftermarks parts?

Recently, there has been a lot of news of Mine’s and Amuse breaking track records with their aftermarket parts for the new GT-R. Other aftermarket companies, such as HKS, are also constantly developing new parts that increase power or improve aerodynamics or just lighten the vehicle. Some of these kits are only offered in Japan, while others maybe be found elsewhere. A question that often comes up is whether you can import cars that are upgraded.

Ultimately, you need to ask to your customs, environment, traffic, and/or road safety government agencies. You might be able to find some information about importing to your country at www.Japan-Used-Cars-Exporting.Info/Import/. For some countries, the laws on importing car a simple and may not be concerned about aftermarket parts. On the other side of the spectrum, some countries refuse entrance to any modified vehicle.

Another case includes that you can import modified vehicles, but they need to pass normal and maybe additional test. You country might have also an approval list of parts that are acceptable.

In general, importing a modified vehicle would cost possibly significantly more. If you are able to find the aftermarket parts sold in your country, you may find it easier to import a stock car then have additional modification installed after the car is legalized and import process is completed. You might (if your country allows) be able to import aftermarket kits and mod later as another option.

Exporting to Mongolia

March 26, 2008

Information on exporting and importing Japanese used vehicles into Mongolia is very hard to come by, especially in English. This is difficult for importers and exporters alike as the try to find ways to bring trade to this rising star. Just last year in 2007, Mongolia was place as the 11th top importing country of Japanese used passenger vehicles.

The ever need of vehicles growing in Mongolia will be dramatically rising as the baby boom generation are starting become adults. In fact, according to US International Census data, the largest 5-year span group in Mongolia is 15-19 at about 300 thousands boys and girls.

Soon, these teenagers and young adults will be looking for affordable cars. For them, it is a choice between used Chinese, Korean, or Japanese cars. Currently, the market is very open and growing rapidly and is good time for Japanese used vehicle exporters to enter the market. For more information on importing used cars from Japan into Mongolia, visit:

Japanese Used Car Exporting Info – Importing Help For Mongolia

Information Seminars On Importing Vehicles Into Canada

March 17, 2008

Canada Border Services Agency has begun holding free seminars in various cities throughout Canada about importing cars into Canada. These seminars are very helpful and informative to anyone thinking about purchasing a vehicle in another country and importing it into Canada.Typically these seminars will have 5-8 guest speakers from various government agencies, including Canada Border Services agency, Transport Canada, RIV, and the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario.Topics covered include:

  • requirements
  • documentation
  • prohibitions
  • costs
  • regulations of the Canada Border Services Agency, Transport Canada, Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the provincial government

Attendees will be given helpful literature and example paperwork related to importing vehicles into Canada. There is also time given to address specific questions or concerns that you may have about the importation process.

For dates and times of the seminars, or to register for a seminar in your area visit the Information Sessions and Seminars section on the Canadian Border Services agency website.

Source: ImportCartoCanada.info

If you don’t feel like going to a seminar or waiting, you can get much info on importing from Japan into Canada used cars at:

Japanese Used Car Exporting.info – Importing Help For Canada

Trade Statistics For Used Car Export From Japan

March 14, 2008

Big Changes from Dec 07 to Jan 08

Singapore: ↓ from 1760 to 1034 (units)
Malaysia: ↓ from 2333 to 1019
Indonesia: ↑ from 39 to 631
Pakistan: ↓ from 1204 to 461
Bangladesh: ↓ from 1800 to 1181
UAE: ↓ from 9272 to 6814
Russia: ↓ from 38124 to 26017
Cyprus: ↓ from 2288 to 651
Peru: ↓ from 7068 to 44
Chile: ↓ from 7068 to 3249
Kenya: ↓ from 1660 to 948
Tanzania: ↓ from 1477 to 768
South Africa: ↓ from 2862 to 1778
New Zealand: ↓ from 8427 to 6426
Total: ↓ from 98591 to 63968

While there is a drop from December to January, this is what to expect during the post-holiday slump. Some of the reason for the downturn have been reported such as Eastern Africa, Russia, New Zealand. New-car lobbyists have made unfortunate progress in a number of states (see NZ, Malaysia, Philippines) but the largest market, Russia, continues to lead strongly. A majority of the biggest changes are mere seasonal fluxes. 

Uganda Imports Hit By Kenya Rift

March 11, 2008

In January, the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) collected Ush10.75 billion from car imports (new & used) compared to the average monthly revenue of Ush11.49 billion. Kenya is to blame as transport from the Mombasa seaport is restricted from civil unrest.

Uganda, not being on the coast, must import vehicles through either Kenya (Mombasa) or Tanzania (Dar-es Salaam). Importers prefer to go through Mombasa, which is considerably cheaper after road or rail transport into Uganda is added.

Importers also argue this isn’t the only thing affecting their sales, but also the high taxes imposed. Car imports is one of the largest sources of revenue for the Uganda government.

Luckily for importers, tensions in Kenya are starting to loosen, allowing trade to return to previous levels. Japanese exporters can sigh relief that this dip in trade is only temporary.

Import News For Philippines

March 10, 2008

Apparently, the Filipino Government has finally become active against illegal imports of used cars “smuggled” into their country. Laws which have banned the importation of used cars (heavily lobbied for by new car importers) have been around for a while, but before the government never really actively enforced these laws. Recently there has been changes as Customs have started seizing many cars throughout the Islands.

This is unfortunate news to Japanese exporters as last year over 11,400 vehicles were exported for the Philippines. Many Filipino importers have now canceled orders as their government have started to use X-ray machines on containers. For now, trade will have to wait till everything is sorted out.

More Caribbean News

March 6, 2008

Dominican Republic, a Spanish speaking nation, have put a 5 year age limit on cars imported. Any car imported that is over 5 years old from date of manufacturing will face a hefty fine determined by the Republic’s Customs.

Dominica, a English speaking nation also in the Caribbeans, have put a 4 year age limit on cars imported. Any car imported that is over 4 years old from date of manufacturing will face an additional 140% excise tax.

Import Taxes Up in Sri Lanka

February 29, 2008

In a strange attempt to cut the trade deficit, the Sri Lanka government passed a new tax that equals out to 10% more over the already insane taxes equaling out to between 250 to 350 percent.

Sri Lanka has consistently have problems dealing with their trade balance as each year they import more than they export. To deal with the problem, they try to cut the amount of imports of the biggest category: cars. The problems with doing this include sky-rocketing prices for used cars. This is because Sri Lanka doesn’t produce any used cars, and if the government kinks the imports (by raising costs), demand go up and supply plummets.

Of course, the average person in Sri Lanka cannot afford a used (4-years old) Corolla that costs over $40,000. So what happens? The government indeed cuts off trade, but at the expense of it’s people. More sad days ahead for would-be consumers.

Trinidad and Tobago Introduces Import Licenses

February 26, 2008

In an effort to manage vehicle imports (particularly from Japan) more effectively, the Trinidad and Tobago Government has started issuing Importing Licenses from the beginning of the year.

It is not clear whether only dealers can apply for and receive such licenses or if it is available for anyone. But the effects can already be felt. Because of this transition of requiring a licenses was started this year, many importers lost thousands of dollars after not having the proper documents to import the vehicle. If a car importer doesn’t not have a licenses from now on, they will not be able to clear the car.

So far over 350 foreign used car dealers have this license.

Buying From Auctions: Inspection Sheets

February 25, 2008

Auctions are an excellent place to start your search for a Japanese used car from Japan. This is because it has many benefits over other choices. The most obvious is the selection. On average there is about 20,000 vehicle listed every day, for that day alone, on the top 20 auction group listings. Another benefit is the value where, because there is so many cars to choose from, you’re not stuck with one costly vehicle to choose from because everyone want it. Another big benefit is the Inspection Sheets most auctions have.

Inspection Sheets were designed to give you, the bidder and buyer, a quick idea what kind of condition the car is in. Each auction does things a little from others, but in general they have the same content.

The first thing you might notice is a big car diagram usually found on the bottom right of most inspection sheets. This diagram show you the physical flaws on the body and glass on the car. The different symbols/letters mean different things to different auctions, but for some general information, look here for some general guidelines for auction grading.

On the top, you will often find especially on paper-based inspection sheets to larger box on the top left, and top right. On the left side this is usually the Exhibit number, the number give for that car so people can identify it on auction day. If you find a car you like, this is the number you should write down. Your auction agent (also called bidding agent) will be able to quickly find the vehicle to do a hands on inspection.

The box on the top right is car’s grading box. It will usually show a number, dash (not rated or worst condition), asterisks (***), or a letter. A zero or non-number usually signifies it’s been in an accident and/or repaired. An exception is R1 which means it has been modified for racing. Of course, as said earlier, there is a slight variation between auctions. With the numbers, the higher the better. In general, 3.5 is average/decent quality. That means it doesn’t have much more than a few minor scratches or very small dents. For exporting, this is probably the lowest standard you’ll want to avoid additional repairs.

Just a few more exception to the grading system. First the letter “S” means brand new and “T” mean special purpose vehicle. Also, if there is a smaller box below this grading box and has a letter or number, that box is for when they separately rate the interior of the car. Without the smaller grade box, the grading box is for both exterior and interior.

Other information you will find in an inspection sheet include:

  • Car identity numbers and information
  • Engine information
  • Transmission type
  • History
  • Last Car Inspection (Shaken)
  • Mileage
  • Color (Exterior and Interior)
  • Equipment
  • Fuel Type
  • Dimensions
  • Other sales points
  • and Inspection Notes

Most is self explanatory. One important thing to note is that all the grading is for the body’s condition and not include the rating for the car’s mechanical condition. To find how the car is mechanically, this information can be found in the “Inspection/Inspectors Notes” section. This is written in Japanese so will need to have it translated by your auction agent.

Auction Inspection Sheets are excellent tools for searching for cars, but they are not a substitute for hands on inspections of your agent that will be there at the auction physically. Make sure you mention to your agent exactly what you want and what is acceptable before he bids for you. Often, auction sites provide digital images for your agent to send you before bidding happens. Take your time, there are often many cars available that match your specification.

For more information on Inspection Sheets visit:

Japanese Used Car Exporting.info – Inspection Sheets
Japanese Used Car Exporting.info – Japanese to English Inspection Sheet Translations