RightHandDrive.ca/blog Canadian Right Hand Drive News and Thoughts


Importing from Japan – An introduction

I've been driving my Hijet for about 2 years now, and I'm looking for something a bit... faster. I don't need to go 200km/h, but highway speed for extended periods of time would be nice.

The Hijet I bought locally, which saved me lots of pain and headaches with importing. That, and I was not comfortable with the idea of importing a car at that time. Now, I know people who have done it, and I've been bidding on cars in Japan for the last few weeks. I haven't bought or imported one yet, but here's some things I've learned to save you from making the same mistakes.

  1. You can't low-ball and win. The market really decides how much these cars are worth, and you're not the only person bidding on the car. Ask your bidding agent what the cars usually go for. Some auction websites have the statistics by the model. Look at them and bid accordingly. These cars are NOT being given away.
  2. Check the auctions daily. Cars being auctioned off the next day must be registered by about 10pm (or something). Because of the way the time zones fall, check every morning at breakfast. I had to limit myself to doing the check once a day... it's highly addictive. It's like Kijiji on some wicked drugs.
  3. Know what you're bidding on. Depending on your bidding agent is, they'll look for the car for you, and email you the day before with the cars you might be interested in. They'll translate the auction sheet for you and tell you what they think. If you want to annoy them you can ask about other cars too, getting the sheet quickly translated. The auction sheet is relatively simple to understand if you take a look at it, and can usually save an email to your auction agent.
  4. Follow the process. If the bidding agent requires a deposit, don't try to bid on a car without one. That makes you stupid. How many 16-year-old wanna-be JDM owners contact them a week, without the money to back their claims. To transfer money the cheap way takes about a week to push through paperwork. If you want to bid on a car, you almost need your deposit in place first - otherwise the car will come and go and you won't be able to even have a deposit ready.
  5. Be patient. This is where I'm really weak. I know what I want, but want to bid on everything on the site. A good car in the right condition will come up. If you're looking for an STi, don't bid on some other random vehicle... you'll win it and be disappointed. Stick to your guns.

Well, those are my insights for right now. As I keep going through the process I'll keep everyone updated.


Right hand drive auctions – a walkthough

If you've ever wondered what the Japanese car auctions look like, check this out!

The Australian show 'Mighty Car Mods' went on a tour of one of the HUGE Japanese car auction houses. It's a really interesting video to watch. They do a walkthough of a 6-storey carpark full of vehicles up for auction. Since Australia is an RHD country they could choose more liberally than we could here in Canada.. but they were still eyeballing a lot of the same cars! RX-7s, Skylines and the like! They also do a little bit on Kei cars up for auction.

The bit about the actual auction floor is INCREDIBLE. The auctions usually take 20-30 seconds (take THAT ebay!) and 4 go on at the same time. It looks like a pretty intense environment... but really interesting at the same time. They basically set it up as a videogame, by the looks of it!

Advice: skip the first 8 minutes... it's all fluff. Otherwise... enjoy! Lots of good information and shots of really interesting cars in here!


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