Car Exports & Imports Explained

Learn the simple process to Import your next car from Japan

Let us explain a little about car exports & imports from Japan. This page does not reflect on total the process of importing but rather why you should consider importing your next car from Japan.

Importing Cars Can Be Fun

Yep, it certainly sounds scary and daunting but importing your car direct from Japan doesn’t need to be scary or daunting.

Read our testimonials throughout this website and you will see that importing from Auto Trader Japan will be fun, safe, and most of all rewarding. See why Japan is the biggest car exporter and has the most cars.

Graeme at Auto Trader Imports Japan
In Osaka 2019

After nearly 33 years and counting, I can’t think if there is a better time than right now to consider bringing in a Japanese imported car. The auto exporting process is a well-oiled machine from Japan and most exporters have it fine-tuned. I know we do, and that’s what we are discussing on this page.

This comes directly from me and not the usual webmaster making things up as they create pages. I thought it prudent to write something from my personal experience as an experienced automotive exporter. I want to advise and educate you and boost your confidence to give importing a car from Japan a try. Read more about car exports & imports, plus help you along the way to your new car.

From all corners of our beautiful blue earth, there are thousands of people out there importing cars directly from Japan and saving hundreds or on many occasions thousands of dollars by simply importing direct.

At the time of writing this, it’s currently Covid 19 season and we are all locked in this turmoil together. Donald Trump is no longer the president and there are more models of cars being produced than we have ever imagined. This has had little impact on car exports & imports overall. So if you are thinking “can I import a car”

Read On

Auto Trader Imports
Company Director
auctions in Japan weekly
cars per week
years importing & Exporting
Read On

As you read on I will outline different engaging factors governing the Japanese car export system and how to get involved from an outsider’s perspective. I promise that nothing here will scare you away and maybe you will consider this as an opportunity or leave a little more educated.

Contact me direct and I will reply within 24h
Drop Me An Email

Rule 1. Don’t Pick The First Page On Google?

This is has been said before by so many marketing gurus from Moz to Neil Patel who will say don’t just look at page 1 on google, and I also to stress this. if you simply type “car exporter” or “best japan car dealer” you will get ads and links to large companies or importers who are not even located in japan. flick through a few pages and search for a Japanese based exporter who can provide full auction access and a comprehensive logistics service. I promise it’s better than page 1.

“Actually importing the car was far easier than I imagined and thanks for the help with the documents as they were stuck in customs”

Jack Ho
Hong Kong

“Mate the car is fabulous and the timing of arrival was impeccable as it coincided bang on with my sons birthday and the car is for him”

Albie Wright
Perth WA
14,500 cars
USS tokyo has this volume of cars every thursday
1st place
the UAE is the largest importer of Japanese used cars per annum
New Zealand was one of the first countries to begin importing in volume from japan
20 Seconds
It takes 20 seconds or less to auction a single car
Do You Know That Japanese Car Auctions are all Computerized. These Cars Are Constantly Changing
Recent Customer Cars
For the best Cars From Japan see Auto Trader Imports
For the best Cars From Japan see Auto Trader Imports
Car Exports & Imports
Car Exports & Imports
Latest Translations For Customers

Translations are great as they tell you all the important items about the car that are written in Japanese. This is vital so that you can make an educated decision on your budget costings for each car. Not only do you get an accurate description but also a 2D diagram explaining any bumps, dents, or scratches on each car.

BMW E36 M3
58435 M3, black Metallic, optional 19 inch alloy, optional leather seat with heater, optional sun roof, spare key, glass coating, seat trim worn, interior worn.
For the best Cars From Japan see Auto Trader Imports
Hino Camper
40075 Ranger Camper , white, private owner, aero cruiser, FF heater, rear heater, cooler, roof air con, side awning, generator, micro wave, fridge, 4 stove, toilet, sink, shower, external ac, rear bunk bed, sub battery, equipment not sure working or not, service records, snow tire, cabinet scratches, exterior some scratches.
For the best Cars From Japan see Auto Trader Imports
Porsche 911 Turbo
65006 Porsche 911 930 Turbo, gold, private owner, 1986 year model, 930 turbo, 4 speed MT, leather seat, rear panel BP, tech meter broken, engine room damper + bonnet damper broken, dashboard fabric untight, interior little worn.
For the best Cars From Japan see Auto Trader Imports

Rule 2. Cheapest Is Far From The Best When Selecting An Auction Agent

Many auction agents out there tout the lowest fees and you pay nothing else. Be suspicious because if the simple agent fee is cheap they will be throwing a kitchen sink of extra fees in later. For example, it may be an agent fee of 60,000JPY + Transport 20,000 JPY + Tax at 10% (we don’t pay tax on car exports but some agents try charging it) + auction fees, etc. You may end up paying far too much per fee. Go for a flat fee per car as we offer and the confusion is eliminated.
We Also Review Cars
A Manual 2004 Audi S4 Avant In Blue
A new classic on the way
For the best Cars From Japan see Auto Trader Imports
Another great example of what is available in Japan
440 People read this article

Zooming through USS Nagoya this week is this sweet looking Audi S4 Avant. There is a heck of a lot going on here with this car including the fact that it’s a manual transmission. Check out that color and those wheels not forgetting it’s got loads of service history.

View project
Some other great cars we bought to order just recently.
For the best Cars From Japan see Auto Trader Imports
For the best Cars From Japan see Auto Trader Imports
For the best Cars From Japan see Auto Trader Imports
For the best Cars From Japan see Auto Trader Imports
For the best Cars From Japan see Auto Trader Imports
For the best Cars From Japan see Auto Trader Imports
For the best Cars From Japan see Auto Trader Imports For the best Cars From Japan see Auto Trader Imports For the best Cars From Japan see Auto Trader Imports For the best Cars From Japan see Auto Trader Imports
For the best Cars From Japan see Auto Trader Imports For the best Cars From Japan see Auto Trader Imports For the best Cars From Japan see Auto Trader Imports For the best Cars From Japan see Auto Trader Imports
For the best Cars From Japan see Auto Trader Imports For the best Cars From Japan see Auto Trader Imports For the best Cars From Japan see Auto Trader Imports For the best Cars From Japan see Auto Trader Imports

Basic Steps To Exporting A Single Car From Japan Each And Every Auction Agent Or Vehicle Supplier Must Take.

Below we have mapped out the basic steps we as exporters take when exporting a car to a client. Each case is somewhat unique but these are the basic steps required. The same is required for all Car Exports & Imports

I doubt this changes so much from agent to agent as we all have a similar process as well as rules to follow when exporting any car from Japan. Car Exports from Japan are simply increasing daily so contact us for the best car to buy.

Obtain A Firm Order

Once we have a deposit and firm order from the client we can then start the steps to buy the desired vehicle from either auction or dealer stock depending on the client’s requirements. Auction Agents will always work within the parameters stipulated by the client. The client also has the final say on the chosen vehicle.

Buy & Pay For The Car

Once all is agreed upon as per step one we proceed to buy the car. Payment must come from the agent to the seller prior to the seller releasing the car to us. In some cases, we have time to pay depending on the auction but normally it’s within 48 hours. Once the seller has our payment the car can be collected by our selected transport company and moved to the port.

We do not get the paperwork at this point

Waiting Game

The client will be invoiced for the car and is requested to make payment for the vehicle. Payment is normally required within 3 to 7 days on a case by case basis. Cars will not be processed without shipment if the client has not made payment. While this is being done the car is still moving to the port from auction or the dealer yard. This can take 3 to 8 days depending on the initial location of the vehicle.

Paperwork & More + Photos

All cars leaving Japan are required to be de-registered and the shaken paper (registration paper) is changed to an export certificate. We do this only once the paperwork has arrived for the car. We must go to the local Public office to change these documents for each car. It’s a very time-consuming process each time so doing them in bulk when possible is easier.

During this time we have organized that the port staff takes 25 to 50 photos of your new car that will be sent to you while you wait.

Official Paperwork

Now we have changed the shaken certificate to an export certificate we must hastily courier this document along with others to the shipping agent. Over the next days, the shipping agent will produce 4 BOLS with the car’s details and the consignees (you) These documents are couriered back to us so that we can then follow up by dispatching them to you.

At this point, we now have a firm reservation on a ship that will carry your new car to you. Our staff will instruct you of the vessel and date.


Approximately 2 to 5 days before shipping your car will go into a bonded area or no man’s land. At this point, there is no turning back as this car is on its way! Depending on what type of invoice you were provided, either FOB or CIF we will courier 2 copies of the BOL and the original export certificate. These 3 documents are your proof of ownership and are vital.

You can’t misplace these documents or you won’t be able to collect your car. Treat them with the utmost care.

At this point, our job is 99% complete. Our last mission is to send you the books and extra keys etc by EMS or another service at our discretion.

12 to 20 days
this is the minimum time it takes to process any car depending
upon what area of Japan the car came from and the
availability of a vessel.
10 to 35 days
your car will arrive at your port within this time frame after
departing japan depending on your country. For example,
it takes only 10 days to Vancouver and nearly 30 to

Exporters Love Buying Cars

It’s a fact. we love buying cars. Yes, we make a little money every time we buy one but more importantly, we love going to auctions and bidding on cars. every time we win a car we get a little adrenalin rush knowing that we have just bought our client’s car and beaten the competition to get that special car. It’s a special buzz bidding on a car worth $20,000 or $200,000 knowing that it’s going to be all over in about 20 seconds.

Steps Required By You The Vehicle Importer

As the buyer, you should not have to do much as the workload is mostly carried by us as the exporter. However, you still are required to play a crucial role in the importation of your newly acquired vehicle. Here we outline the basic steps you will need to achieve.

Secure Your Auction Agent

The first step to buying a car from Japan is to secure your self a reliable and reputable auction agent who has complete and full auction access. Do not setthe fore less as all agents should be able to provide you the client with access. If they cant do this they are not on the level. We provide our clients with full access on 3 completely seperate websites.

Click on Step 1 to see one of these auction websites.

Remember that your agent must provide you with access to all auctions. Check out our access below.

Step 1
Start Your Search For Cars

This is where the excitement starts. You have secured our services as your agent and we have provided you with access to the auctions. Now it’s time to search for that car or cars! Once you get used to how the system works you can send us some auction numbers or links and we will translate a few cars for you while you educate yourself with the system.

Try a few dummy bids and see how you go. Don’t worry you wont actually be bidding on anything as the system wont allow it until your bidding deposit is in. Go on give it a go, its great fun. Click Step 2 to try.

Step 2
Time to Bid & Deposit

Now that you are a seasoned pro it’s time to take that step to actually bidding. But before this can be done your auction agent will normally require a deposit from you. This is normally around 100,000 JPY depending upon your supplier. Now that you have this paid and your agent is in agreement to commence you can start sending some bids through to him. Simply use the bidding box provided in the system when you’re logged in. Your agent will help you with bidding and you’re finally underway. Your deposit will be deducted from the total costs once the car is purchased. It’s there as a safety net as we have to pay for your car the next day, so in reality, our risk is initially far greater than your deposit.

Start bidding using Step 3 below.

Step 3
You Are Finally A Winner

Normally your agent can buy a car with 3 or 5 attempts at bidding. It’s good this way as you know that you have not paid too much for the car. We will actually show our clients the victorious end price as certification. You can keep this as your reference. You will be invoiced the same day or the day after with either a FOB or CIF invoice. This will need to be paid within 3 to 7 days depending upon your supplier. We generally allow our clients up to 7 working days which is very generous in this industry.

Prepare For Your New Car

I am assuming that you have paid for your car at this point so it’s time to prepare a few things. Firstly you may want to re-visit your local government transport website to ensure nothing has changed. Secondly, you may want to secure the services of an import customs agent who will handle all the stamps, etc for the vehicle’s arrival. If required you may also need to sort out a transport company or get some temporary plates for moving the car from the port to its destination.

Final Step – Documents And Car Arrive

At some point during the ship sailing time, we will send you the official shipping and vehicle documents. Either hand these to your customs import agent or if you doing it personally hold on to these documents until customs requests them. Approximately 10 days prior to the ship’s arrival you will receive an arrival notice from the shipping company allowing you ample time to prepare. You can also track the vessel online. It is advised when collecting your car to take some fuel and a jump pack as these cars have been sitting for some time.

Check your lubricants and have a great time with your new car. We look forward to helping you out with the next one.

Graeme -Auto Trader Japan

I know I said it’s
easy and it is. Simply follow the step we have listed and it will work like a charm. I am also more than pleased to help you out if you get stuck along the way so please do not hesitate to use my contact details provided.
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