21 Reasons for Exporting a Used Car from Japan

Introduction

There has never been a better time to import a used car from Japan and save big dollars. Exports from Japan have been steadily increasing for the last three years as more and more dealers, wholesalers and private buyers around the world realize this great opportunity.

Reason #1: Wide product range: Due to the very competitive domestic Japanese car market, there are an abundance of models and manufacturers in Japan manufacturers including Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Fuji Heavy Industries (Subaru), Suzuki and Daihatsu.

Reason #2: K-class Mini Cars: This is a new type of car which has been created in Japan to address Environmental concerns, demand for fuel efficiency and the general the lack of space on Japanese roads. All K-class vehicles meet a specification which restricts the weight, engine displacement (maximum of 660cc) and exterior dimensions. K cars have excellent cost performance are in growing demand around the world.

Reason #3: Excellent Japanese road conditions: Despite the lack of space, Japanese roads are extremely well maintained meaning normal wear and tear which might be attributed to poor road conditions in other countries is not a problem in Japan.

Reason #4: Average vehicle age: The average age of all vehicles on Japanese roads is almost sure to be lower than most other countries. It is unusual to see cars older than 15 years on the roads at all. The Japan Automotive Manufacturers Association (JAMA) reports average vehicle age to be approximately 5.8 years.

Reason #5: Higher model specifications: Due to an abundance of models from each manufacturer and the Japanese penchant for new electronic and other gadgetry, the specifications of a Japanese vehicle produced for the domestic market will usually be much higher than foreign-produced equivalents. This means you can buy a Japanese export model with all the features you like for the same price as a base model bought domestically.

Reason #6: Low mileage: Most Japanese live in cities which lack space and are very dense in terms of population. Since everything necessary to live a comfortable life is within close reach for the typical Japanese, domestic drivers average mileage is typically less than half that of other countries. The Japanese Motor Vehicle Inspection Registration Association reports average mileage for Japanese domestic drivers to be around 9,000km annually. American drivers, on the other hand, drive and average of 19,000 kms each year.

Reason #7: Relative cost: Even after taking into account costs such as freight and local compliance it is almost always cheaper to import a used car from Japan than to buy an equivalent used car locally. There are several reasons for Japanese exports being so cheap, primary amongst them is the mandatory Japanese vehicle safety inspections which effectively increase the cost of ownership as the vehicle ages.

Reason #8: Excellent resale value: Japanese cars, particularly Toyota and Lexus, generally hold much more of their value over the lifetime of the product than foreign counterparts such as Ford and GM.

Reason #9: Highly efficient automated auction systems: Instead of purchasing from private sellers or through local used car dealers whose reputation and business practices may be circumspect, used Japanese cars may be purchased at wholesale prices through very efficient auction houses run by Toyota, Nissan and other reputable companies. Each vehicle placed into an auction is photographed, inspected and graded and this information is useful, accurate and available to potential buyers.

Reason #10: No need to deal with sleazy local used car salesmen: It is an unfortunate fact that the used car industry around the world has the reputation of being filled with unsavory types who deceive and lie in order to gouge their customers on every deal. Whether this is true or not, buying a Japanese export car removes the need to deal with these individuals at all.

Reason #11: Japanese cultural habit of always buying new: Typical Japanese drivers are loathe to buy a car that someone else has used, regardless of the value proposition inherent in doing so. Thus Japanese customarily purchase new cars every 5-7 years, creating a pool of high quality, low mileage, high-spec used cars ready for resale around the world.

Reason #12: No need to waste time and money with private sellers: It is well know that buying a used car from a private seller is sometimes a good way to find a bargain, but this kind of purchase may be quite risky for a buyer who is not mechanically inclined. It can also be very time consuming dealing with private sellers, trying to schedule meetings and test drives and traveling around town to inspect vehicles which are often not as advertised. .

Reason #13: Abundance of Japan-based used car exporters and specialists: Since Japan represents the second largest vehicle manufacturing country in the world and the number of exports from Japan are growing every year there are many exporters and specialists who can assist you in sourcing and exporting your car. Due to the number of people vying for your business you can choose an exporter that you like and gain very competitive pricing as well.

Reason #14: Japanese safety regulations: The Japanese roadworthy testing system is a positive for two reasons: (1) All Japanese vehicles are subjected to exhaustive bi-annual testing and mechanical checks to ensure they are well maintained and (2) gaining roadworthy (called Shaken in Japan) usually costs a lot, artificially inflating the ongoing running costs year by year as the car gets older. The latter is one of the primary reasons Japanese drivers trade up to a new car so quickly and so often.

Reason #15: Increasing shipping capacity and shipment options: Many vehicle transportation companies are increasing their capacity to freight both new and used vehicles from Japan due to growth in this market. For individuals wishing to purchase 2-4 cars at a time shipment by container is also an option which may be faster, more secure and possibly cheaper depending upon the destination port.

Reason #16: Availability of objective information: On the internet today there are many automotive review sites dedicated to the provision of accurate, timely and objective data for all types of Japanese cars. It is no longer necessary for individual buyers to rely on salespeople or manufacturer marketing literature to gain an accurate understanding of specifications, prices and vehicle conditions prior to purchase.

Reason #17: Auction assessments and evaluations: Every auto auction house in Japan performs mechanical tests and assessments by trained technicians prior to entry of the vehicle at auction. These evaluations are very detailed and accurate and include all pertinent information along with grading for the exterior and interior of the vehicle.

Reason #18: Flexible payment terms: While most exporters prefer to be paid via telegraphic transfer, credit card/paypal payments and payments via letter of credit are becoming more common. Most exporters are open to alternative payment methods and the foreign buyer may also consider escrow services if hesitant about sending large sums of money abroad for the first time.

Reason #19: No need to speak Japanese: Due to the huge market which has developed in used Japanese car exports there are many people from many different nations involved in this business. Buyers from Pakistan can communicate with exporters in Urdu. Buyers from Russia can speak in local dialects with Japanese exporters in Northern states, where Russian speakers are common. Almost every Japan-based exporter speaks English too. You do not need to worry about communication problems.

Reason #20: Availability of parts: While Japanese domestic models are usually higher spec than their foreign-manufactured equivalents the fact that so many Japanese manufacturing plants exist around the world mean that common parts for popular vehicles are likely to be available cheaply in local markets. In the event that a part is not available domestically, there are many parts specialists who can help in locating a required part.

Reason #21: Trucks, buses ands machinery also available: While used cars are currently the most popular automotive export, sourcing of buses, trucks and machinery is also becoming more common. Japanese trucks are mostly purpose-built, while those manufactured in other countries are not. Thus it is possible to obtain the perfect truck for the job at hand by exporting it from Japan. Once again, the quality and value of these items exceeds what could normally be attained locally.

Conclusion

Buying a new or used car from Japan is a great way to get your dream car and save money doing it. Although it may not be the quickest way to buy, more and more satsifed buyers are taking advantage of this great opportunity. Since the purchase of a car is usually a major decision and an expensive proposition, exporting your next car from Japan is definitely worthy of consideration.

A Car Buying Story – Part Four – The Dealers

You know, while researching the cars, I read a lot about dealing with car dealers. People generally have a negative attitude towards them and the whole car buying experience, and you can find tons of information on how to avoid their scams, how to lower the price, how to negotiate with them, what to tell them, etc, etc. An excellent website to inform yourself on all aspects of car buying is Car Buying Tips: (http://www.carbuyingtips.com/). Now with all the great info and details I learned from various sources, I still thought that generally the prevailing attitude is not realistic. I mean, you almost get a feeling that if you pay anything more than a factory price, you made a bad deal. You can certainly succeed in lowering the price apparently to a large extent, but it is the fact that the dealers have to make money too. Ok, sometimes just selling the car, e.g. to meet their projected numbers, is beneficial to them, and they might give away even the whole of their profit for that sake. But come on, I can consider such situation just a crazy luck, not my goal! Anyway, I think that the current craze about “beating” those prices down to the floor is just as unrealistic and aggressive as the dealer’s craze to take as much money from you as possible.

However, after this buying experience, I lost pretty much any respect and sympathy for the dealers. And I will always advise anyone never to become one. Of course some of them were great examples of normal and pleasant behaviour, but unfortunately I must say that most of them have taken the activity of deceit and aggressiveness to such extent that for an honest and well meaning man the idea of going to a dealership must be repugnant. I very quickly got such a strong feeling of insecurity about everything I was told by them. I think everything was a lie, smaller or bigger. A lot of what I’ve heard I don’t believe, and none of it I trust.

Here are some of the examples, more or less funny, from my recent experience:

Systematic approach

I enter a dealership, with the intention of exploring a car that really caught my attention simply by offering all of the basic features I wanted. So I wanted to see it, test drive it, and ask a couple of questions. So I ask the dealer: “I’ve read that the crash test scores for this model are not that good, most are graded 3 out of 5. Now, I know that there are different tests, and you can’t judge simply by the grade. Do you know more details about those tests and the scores? What is tested exactly, and how did they score the cars?”

The answer was: “Yes, yes I know, the scores are not the best possible. I know. But you know — what do they mean really? (And I’m thinking — yes, that is exactly what I asked) You see, a grade of 3 is really not that bad. It’s almost like 4. What is the difference? Almost nothing let me tell you. And also, all of that means something only in most severe crashes!!”

Well, no kidding!! What a thorough explanation. Now I understand and my worries are gone. And what a relief. So, if a car is simply parked on a lot, I shouldn’t worry that it will suddenly open the hood and hit me right in the face!

Bonding

A question occurred to me about a car, and I decided to drop by a dealership to ask. My visit was about 10 minutes long — of course we exchanged numbers, I got the brochure and usual stuff. Tomorrow morning, my cell phone rings, I answer and I get this:

– “Hey Michael, Jord here from the dealership.” – “Hey Jord, how are you, what’s up?” (I thought he might have just gotten some good used car) – “Nothing, nothing…just wanted to see how are you.”

Huh… If this doesn’t sound as a start of a beautiful friendship I don’t know what does!

Then he goes on: – “So have you made a decision on which car you want?” – “No, not really, not yet. I told you I’ll need some time, and I’m not rushing really.” – “Ok, tell me, what’s blocking it? Can I help?”

Man, of course you can! Go do something else instead of asking me questions…

Landing on all four whatever happens

I wasn’t sure about a size of a trunk of one of the models, so on my visit to the dealerships I brought couple of boxes and a cart that I use often to see how they fit into the trunk. Now this was one of the smaller cars, so I wasn’t sure about the trunk size. And I tell the dealer what I’d like to do and he says no problem. So I take out the stuff and he laughs:

– “C’mooon, how can you doubt it — that will fit without a problem. Don’t worry!!” – “Wait, wait, let me try, I know what I’m talking about.”

And then I try, and he tries, but it doesn’t go so easy — the cart is a bit long and the boxes a bit high. Separately they go in no problem, but together, not that easy. Finally, he laughs again and remarks:

– “And you really thought ALL OF THAT will fit into this trunk??!!”

Wha…??

Get all the money you can

I receive a long talk describing how I should buy the replacement insurance. And the more expensive one (“better” in the jargon), which covers you for a longer time and gives you the value of the new car, rather the amount that you paid. Ok, that is a fine product. Now I also get a long description on how I should absolutely buy a VIN engraving package where they engrave the VIN on all windshields so that the thieves are less likely to steal it (they can’t sell the windshields for parts). It’s about $300. Well, I gave both of these things a good thought, but tomorrow I realized a simple thing: Why do I need two protections? If I get the replacement insurance, and if they are going to give me a new car if mine is stolen, why would I then protect it even more?? Damn, I should also probably buy two cars in case one is stolen after all.

And on top of that, I found on the internet that the engraving kit, very simple to use and apply, can be bought for mere $20.

Get all the money you can — again

This one is well-known, and usually titled as a “dealer scam”, but I decided I put it here anyways just as another example.

So I finally decide to buy the car and I arrive to the dealership at around 6:00pm. I expect the process to last about an hour. However, little thing here and there and I end up at the dealership for four hours. I think ok, nobody’s fault, there are simply a lot of things to do and a lot of people to involve — the dealer, finance guy, insurance girl, then the finance guy again, then the manager because there was an error, etc. So, I get the contract with all the figures there, and everything looks fine: all the figures match almost perfectly to mine that I calculated before. Except one thing — $900 of loan life insurance. So I ask:

– “Why is it there? Is that mandatory?” – “Well, we made such an application to Company’s Finance.” – “Ok, but is it mandatory?” – “We could reapply and see what happens — if you have life insurance elsewhere.”

Now, you see, I am not too easy to confuse, but it was late and I didn’t want to repeat the whole process again, so I’m thinking: “Ok, I’m going to think about it tomorrow.” And I let it by. Now good thing was that I had the contract with me (I had to take it home for my wife to sign), so I wasn’t too worried.

Anyhow, in the morning I realize that not only it is not mandatory to have the insurance and that I definitely do not need life insurance elsewhere, but another application without it will certainly go through. And, at that point I sincerely doubted that they need to make another application at all. So I get really angry and I go there and I get the exact same answer again. So I say:

– “Let’s apply again; I am sure the application will go trough. I simply don’t want it and I never wanted it and I never asked for it. And if it doesn’t we’ll see then what we do.”

And she does the paperwork, and seeing me irritated, remarks: “Don’t worry I’m sure it will go trough.” Of course it will — and it does.

Get on customer’s side — even if you overdo it

One of the dealers was affirming every little thing I said. It got funny and a bit annoying:

He thought that the features I wanted are absolutely the only important features in the car.

He was also in computer business just a few years ago.

The funniest was when we discussed payment options. He told me that leasing is a better option if I want to change the car every couple of years. So I say:

– “You know, I am more the other type of buyer, at least so far. I drive one car for years before I buy a new one, so I probably won’t go with the lease.” – “I understand, I completely understand. You know, the worst part of the auto business for me is that you simply have to change the car every 1-2 years. I hate that. If I wasn’t selling cars, I would do the same as you.”

Well, this really made me feel like home. C’mon guys, we just met and will probably never see each other again; don’t do these things.

Advertise what you have

This one was not really on the negative side, it was just funny. I went to Subaru and dealers there were actually very cool. They were very cooperative, and without the aggressive edge. And they never called me to push or ask whether I’ve made a decision. They also have a great program where you can take the car for 24hr test drive. I had really a good experience with them.

Anyhow, I told this dealer that I know that their cars use specific technology in their engine that is different from all other cars, and that repairs can be expensive. And he says:

– “Yeah, it’s so called Boxer engine where pistons are opposed horizontally instead of vertically. But we are not the only ones to use it… Porsche uses it — you know Porsche Boxster. … And some smaller planes.”

Well, that much for the affordable repairs…

Then he also added that it’s an old technology that has been well perfected so far and that I shouldn’t worry really, which was a bit more reassuring.

Always fish for customer’s weak spots — even in the dark Honda was giving rebate and they advertised it everywhere: that was very important sales pitch. Now I come to a dealership, and one of the first things the guy tells me is: “You know, I’ll tell you one thing: we will give you a good rebate, and it’s Honda’s rebate but most of the dealers won’t even mention it.”

He made it as if he is letting me know a secret, and not only that it isn’t, but it’s all over radio, their website, everywhere. But I might have been uninformed and careless and would think that I’m getting a special deal.

Lie like there’s no tomorrow and hope you don’t get caught

I was quite close to buying a car so I called some dealerships inquiring whether they have a certain model and the color on the lot. I told them I don’t want the car to be brought from some other dealership. I want to see the car and get the one I saw. This is because I don’t want to get into whole new set of issues and questions. For example, one dealer told me that they charge extra delivery fee if they bring the car from other dealership, which is by the way ridiculous and perhaps deserves story on its own. It can also happen that the car that arrives is different in some detail than what you wanted, and you already signed the papers. Etc.

So I made sure they know what I want, and then came to one of the dealerships. We chat a bit and then I say:

– “So let me see the car.” – “Oh, I was afraid you were gonna ask me that. I really don’t know exactly where the car is.”

I laugh: “But I told you I want to see the car before I buy it.”

– “Oh, don’t worry — it’s here, I’m just not sure where.” – “Ok, I’ll go outside and look for it.” – “But our lots are really big.” – “I don’t mind, I have the time.” – “But they are not really all here — we have two lots a few blocks away.”

I just don’t like arguing that much — in cases like these I give up and simply walk away.

A good guy

The positive highlight was a young dealer for which I could quickly tell that he is not (yet) turned his abilities into a deceitful routine — he even gets confused a bit when I ask him a stupid question. To me that is the normal reaction. And when I asked him what he drives, he said: “an old Volvo, you know it’s a really good car.” I am really sorry that cars he was selling were not suitable for me — I would have been very happy to buy one from him. And I didn’t even feel like negotiating with him at all.

A Top Ten List of Automotive Extended Warranty Companies

Automotive extended warranties should be a very important part of one’s budget. After the vehicle’s initial warranty expires it would be wise to extend it because unexpected breakdowns can be devastating for one’s finances. A warranty is collateral that is offered by the manufacturer or another insurance provider. This means that if the product or service fails you are entitled to have it repaired or replaced. Let’s look at some of the top providers for automotive extended warranties.

1. Mogi

Mogi is a very recent entrant into the market of insurance. With their technological advances in terms of web based protection and support, Mogi has become the convenient and reliable choice of many consumers. Mogi offers several coverage plans for new and used vehicles. Each plan is tailored to the specific needs of the customer at the lowest rates possible.

2. Warranty Direct

Warranty Direct is very popular due to its wide array of coverage plans at reasonable prices. With more of a track record than Mogi, Warranty Direct has been in the business for 30 years. In terms of reliability you will find no better automotive extended warranty among the other companies. Warranty Direct is one of the largest warranty companies in North America making it very appealing to buyers looking for a safe and reliable purchase.

3. CARCHEX

Another well-known name; CARCHEX provides several automotive extended warranties. Plans for new and used vehicles add to the diversity of this company.

4. Stop Repair Bills

Stop Repair Bills will cover almost any vehicle. Most of their customers have vehicles over 12 years old. This company’s boldness has earned it a household name for good reason.

5. U.S. Fidelis

U.S. Fidelis is one of the largest automotive extended warranty companies in the United States. U.S. Fidelis offers many economic plans for new vehicles. This provider is a wise choice for those looking for an established company.

6. U.S. Direct

U.S. Direct is another exclusive provider in the United States. This automotive extended warranty company boasts a solid track record and excellent customer service.

7. Fidelity Automotive

Fidelity provides extended warranties to both new and used cars. To go along with their coverage, Fidelity also offers excellent customer service with roadside assistance and repair.

8. Auto Protection

Auto Protection is smaller than the other providers; to compensate for this Auto Protection offers excellent customer service and makes their policies very clear.

9. Endurance Protection

Another small automotive extended warranty provider; Endurance Protection offers several incentives such as instant savings and roadside assistance.

10. Auto Service Warranty

Auto Service Warranty provides used and new automobile coverage. Automotive extended warranties are provided at very economical pricing.

Aftermarket, OEM, OE Auto Parts Explained

Aftermarket, OEM, replacement parts–you see these words in almost all auto parts stores online. What do these terms mean?

For a passive buyer, these things are but ordinary terms used in the automotive market but for someone meticulous and who wants the best for his auto, these things matter considerably. Deciding which among these to purchase is just like deciding what car to buy.

O.E.M. stands for Original Equipment Manufactured. This means that OEM Ford parts are manufactured by Ford itself, Chevrolet parts are manufactured by Chevrolet, Toyota parts by Toyota, BMW parts by BMW and so on. The terms O.E.S. and OE are also used; these mean Original Equipment Supplied and Original Equipment, respectively. While in many cases, OEM and OES mean the same, OE is more general referring to any part that came as original equipment on the car. Some of OE car parts and components are not actually made by the car manufacturer but are purchased and assembled by the automakers to create a vehicle.

Those referred to as “aftermarket auto parts” are not made by the original car manufacturer; furthermore, they are bought and added to the vehicle only at the dealership or after the vehicle left the dealership. In terms of design and function, aftermarket products are almost the same as the stock auto parts since they are primarily used to replace a damaged original part so that the vehicle can continue to run. If you need replacement parts for your car, however, you can either buy O.E.M. or aftermarket auto parts. There are numerous sources of aftermarket auto parts. Stores like Auto Parts Discount give you a great variety of parts for almost all makes and models.

Some cars, especially the base models are not completely equipped so users just add aftermarket parts later on. For example if you have purchased an old Toyota Corolla, you can add aftermarket Toyota fog lights, Toyota spoiler, Toyota turn signal light or Toyota mirrors. Aftermarket products can also help you give your car a fresh new look. Even if your original parts are not yet damaged or worn out, you can replace them with or add specially designed aftermarket auto parts like Honda taillights, Ford center cap, Chevrolet chrome bumper, and Mercedes Benz Front Cover Towing Eye found at Auto Parts Discount.

Enthusiasts, on the other hand would opt for custom parts and specialty equipments. Compared to a universal fit auto part, which can be installed to any vehicle make, year and model, custom aftermarket products are designed to fit only a particular application. Examples of custom parts are your Ford hood, Ford fender and Ford doors. Specialty equipments on the other hand, are intended to make the vehicle more stylish, comfortable, convenient and more up-to-date.

Most auto users prefer aftermarket products because they are less expensive than OEM replacements. While it is true that there may be some aftermarket auto parts that do not meet high standards of original equipments, it is not right to say that aftermarket products are generally inferior in terms of quality and style. Replacement parts sold at Auto Parts Discount, for example are made by car parts manufacturers that are mandated by high international standards.

Which is better, OEM or aftermarket replacement part? It depends on the product. Some OEM parts are not durable enough while the aftermarket parts you use to replace them could last for many years. If you want to give your car a different look and also, if you want to save, aftermarket products are worth a try. However, make sure to get these replacement parts from trusted sources.