Buying a Used Japanese Import Car: Tips & Advice
If you’re in the market for a unique car, you may want to consider a Japanese import. These vehicles, often found on sites like eBay Motors, include popular models like the Nissan Elgrand, Toyota Alphard hybrid, Toyota Prius and Honda Stepwagon. One standout option is the Mazda Bongo Friendee, a camper van with a cult following. Another classic is the 1990s Nissan Figaro, a small pastel-colored convertible that’s part of the Kei Cars class, which were designed to fit into tight city parking spaces.
Japanese imports are known for their spacious interiors and versatility, with many offering 7 or 8 seats and a higher roof. The Nissan Elgrand, in particular, is known for its luxury features, such as leather seats and a six-cylinder petrol engine. Another popular import is the Mazda Eunos sports car, which is similar to the first version of the Mazda MX-5 but can be purchased as an automatic.
One benefit of Japanese imports is that Japan, like the UK, drives on the left-hand side of the road, making the steering wheel placement familiar to British drivers. Additionally, it’s said that Japanese people take great care of their possessions, including their cars, which are often well-maintained and driven fewer miles due to the country’s strong public transportation system.
However, there are also downsides to buying a Japanese import. Cars are subject to the Shaken test (MOT in UK), a rigorous inspection that becomes more expensive as the vehicle ages. Before buying a Japanese car carry out Japanese car history check you will need VIN from car seller in addition ask seller for export documentation as you will see last three year mileages on export certificate. Related to history most cars are sold at auctions so obtain auction listing report to see vehicles condition report as cars can have accident damage, depends what grade cars UK seller is purchasing. Additionally, cars over 13 years old are subject to an automobile tax and weight tax, making it more expensive to own older vehicles.
Buying a Japanese vehicle you will not be able to obtain extended warranty in the UK as all warranty companies don’t cover import vehicles. Vehicles insurance will not be straight forward, but it would not be a big problem. Underside corrosion protection is recommended as inderside would not be protected as for EU or UK car market.
It’s important to do your research and find a reputable dealer or join a Facebook group or club for the specific model you’re interested in, advise is to look for established import companies who specialise on Japanese imports.