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Import a vehicle from Japan


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I don’t think they use salt on the roads in Japan, it’s true that they tend not to keep cars for long, I think their version of the MOT is quite onerous

Doesn't the UK have enough Figaros?!?

The renewables subsidy per household is £340 (2019 figures and rising). It is a bill paying for effectively nothing, whichever way you want to paint it.    https://www.thegwpf.com/curre

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14 minutes ago, Loki said:

Has anyone any experience of this?  Looking at the checklist on HMRC it seems like a reasonably straightforward process.

 

I looked into it some years ago when I was thinking about buying a Bongo as a campervan. There are firms who do it for you - for a price - and you pay considerably less if you buy the vehicle on the dock in Japan as opposed to the dock here in the UK. But you run the risk of it falling off the side of a ship somewhere between Japan and the UK. Or it disappearing en route via other means.

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7 minutes ago, The Masked Tulip said:

 

I looked into it some years ago when I was thinking about buying a Bongo as a campervan. There are firms who do it for you - for a price - and you pay considerably less if you buy the vehicle on the dock in Japan as opposed to the dock here in the UK. But you run the risk of it falling off the side of a ship somewhere between Japan and the UK. Or it disappearing en route via other means.

Must be an insurable risk. Meat and drink for Lloyds of London @Frank Hovis.

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1 minute ago, Yadda yadda yadda said:

Must be an insurable risk. Meat and drink for Lloyds of London @Frank Hovis.

 

Yes, there was insurance but I forget the details.

@Loki it is worth checking out some of the bongo camping van forums as they used to have lots of info on the pros and cons of importing from Japan.

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12 minutes ago, Sugarlips said:

Just be aware that there is a perceived negative opinion of ‘grey imports’ that can impact its future resale value and potentially parts can be scarcer, depending what it is you buy.

That's OK, I would be keeping it 'forever'

11 minutes ago, The Masked Tulip said:

 

Yes, there was insurance but I forget the details.

@Loki it is worth checking out some of the bongo camping van forums as they used to have lots of info on the pros and cons of importing from Japan.

Thanks TMT, good idea that.

carfromjapan offer shipping insurance so I'd definitely get that.

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hey I did that but 20 years ago.....rally spec Impreza, I tried to outrun plod but he was on a motorbike and caught me at the traffic lights :o....had to sell it after 6 months, I was in severe danger of losing my licence

It was a no brainer back then cos it was like 230 yen to the £ and a container to stick it in was dirt cheap.....

I had it shipped to Rotterdam cos even though it was brand new, I had to drive it abroad so that it was classed as an 'import'......I had to get an SVA test think it was called...speedo needs to read mph and the fuel filler pipe needed to be reduxed in size.....oh yeah and a foglight......and they never used to 'waxoil' or 'seal the metal' in Japan...

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18 minutes ago, Sugarlips said:

Just be aware that there is a perceived negative opinion of ‘grey imports’ that can impact its future resale value and potentially parts can be scarcer, depending what it is you buy.

And insurance can be higher.

(a friend has some weird Japanese thing (but still lots of parts interchangeability with UK cars) and he had to go to a specialist insurer to get it insured at all)

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3 minutes ago, 5min OCD speculator said:

hey I did that but 20 years ago.....rally spec Impreza, I tried to outrun plod but he was on a motorbike and caught me at the traffic lights :o....had to sell it after 6 months, I was in severe danger of losing my licence

It was a no brainer back then cos it was like 230 yen to the £ and a container to stick it in was dirt cheap.....

I had it shipped to Rotterdam cos even though it was brand new, I had to drive it abroad so that it was classed as an 'import'......I had to get an SVA test think it was called...speedo needs to read mph and the fuel filler pipe needed to be reduxed in size.....oh yeah and a foglight......and they never used to 'waxoil' or 'seal the metal' in Japan...

Cheers, yes I'd heard they didn't need much rust-proofing in Japan but different story here.  Probably get a professional to underseal it.

2 minutes ago, dgul said:

And insurance can be higher.

(a friend has some weird Japanese thing (but still lots of parts interchangeability with UK cars) and he had to go to a specialist insurer to get it insured at all)

Good point, should check that before I get too far into things xD

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21 minutes ago, Loki said:

Cheers, yes I'd heard they didn't need much rust-proofing in Japan but different story here.  Probably get a professional to underseal it.

Good point, should check that before I get too far into things xD

Can't see why that would be, but perhaps the posters who've lived in Japan might explain?

It's maritime and gets chilly like the UK, or so I thought.

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Are 2nd-hand cars still cheap in Japan? Have a vague memory of that being the case years back, so I presume this is the motivation of doing this? If I remember correctly the NZ car market is nearly all imported 2nd hand Jap stuff.

This would be a good one for slapping the EU with post-Brexit - make it a lot easier to import cheap Jap cars so fewer people want to buy BMWs and Audis.

Edited by swiss_democracy_for_all
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Check the Jap auction grade, I think 4A is basically mint condition, any grade lower than a 3 means it's pretty ropey. 

Also get a carvx.jap report, the equivalent of a UK HPI Report, it can be very detailed as long as you provide the 12 digit chassis number.

The japs are notorious for clocking cars, the last jap import I was interested in only had the annual mileage recorded twice despite it being 14 years old.. and the carvx report showed it had been clocked in between those two recordings, so god knows how many more times it could have been clocked over the years.

The report also showed it had been previously registered in the Fukashima nuclear contamination zone!:o

I passed on that one! 

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4 minutes ago, Royston said:

The japs are notorious for clocking cars, the last jap import I was interested in only had the annual mileage recorded twice despite it being 14 years old.. and the carvx report showed it had been clocked in between those two recordings, so god knows how many more times it could have been clocked over the years.

Valuable information that, thank you.  

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https://www.algysautos.com/

Has anyone used this company? I know they've been around for some time.  I have not used.

@Loki we got a Toyota Granvia camper conversion done in 2011 by one of the firms that was following in the footsteps of David at Wellhouse, in Shepley, West Yorkshire. He was one of the first, if not the first to get the Bongo/Freda imported and converted.

The small company we used did all the legwork, including interpreting the grading of the vehicle as it was on the dock/boat, and therefore the cost.  Zero mither for us this way. Most important bit of paper I remember was the one certifying the kilometres on the clock, as it got changed to miles on arrival.  It was 15 years old at import and like new underneath/body work due to the lack of salt used in Japan.

Used a garage familiar with Granvias when the alternator went (think it got the hi-ace one), and similar hi-ace for new part on the brakes.  Due to difficulty sourcing original Granvia parts they'd got a home made database with hi-ace part numbers which matched Granvia parts (it was clearly trial and error because the owner told me if they were really struggling he'd have to do a ring around the other garages in the country to see if anyone else knew the hi-ace part number!).

The only other quirk I came across was the Aircon recharge bolt wasn't available anywhere else than Toyota garages. For services it went to our regular garage.

Insured through Safeguard because it was registered as a camper but iirc Adrian Flux also quoted.  We had no problems with it being a grey import due to it being on a list of certified importers/converters.

Hth.

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21 minutes ago, swiss_democracy_for_all said:

Are 2nd-hand cars still cheap in Japan? Have a vague memory of that being the case years back, so I presume this is the motivation of doing this? If I remember correctly the NZ car market is nearly all imported 2nd hand Jap stuff.

This would be a good one for slapping the EU with post-Brexit - make it a lot easier to import cheap Jap cars so fewer people want to buy BMWs and Audis.

Yep, lots of Jap cars went to NZ - but then iirc the emissions standards changed so it put a stop to that. They probably came here then!  NZ had been emptied out of all old VWs by the mid 00's as they were fetching such prices in UK.

The converter we used in 2011 found it more economical at the time to import s/h Mercs from Japan than buy in Europe! Better spec, better condition and cheaper.

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