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.