Importing your first car directly from Japan can be a daunting task, here I will give you some tips to help you get through it.
1) Find a good agent!
Most agent/brokers in Japan are working from an office and may never see the car they purchase for you on your behalf. Ask your agent, “Will you go to the auction to personally see my car before we buy it?”. Only the best will do this. When buying a second hand car and importing it, it is imperative this gets done to ensure the quality in what you are buying. Not all second hand cars are pristine!
2) Know what you want.
While this may be your fist time to import, it will not be your agents in Japan. Make sure you know exactly what you want, Make, Model, Year, Ks, Condition, Chassis number if possible. This will install confidence with your agent and he will work harder for you. It will also cut down on time so he can send you accurate quotes that fit your order exactly.
3) Make sure you get a copy of the auction sheet.
The auction sheet/report are supplied by the auction houses and they are the third party between the seller of the car, and your agent. The individual auction houses have independent professional inspectors that check the car, write a report, and will also give the car a grade. They are a great indication of the condition of the car, and are difficult to fake (Reference the chassis number against your invoice if you have already purchased). The most basic details on the auction sheet will be the auction Grade eg, R Grade, this stands for a car that has had a accident and has been repaired. Ask your agent about the details, are you comfortable with a crashed and repaired car? A basic grade to aim for would be around 3.5 to 4. a 4 Grade car would indicate above average condition for that make and model with very little panel damage and no crash history.
Its not always advisable to shop for price when buying a used car. Sometimes a 10% Increase in the budget can get you so much more. If your agent in Japan is good, he will explain the difference on a particular unit. Most of the time, a cheaper price mean higher ks, and a lower grade car. Consider what you really want first and listen for the quotes to come in, it is a far better way to shop then by price first.
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