Facts About Japanese Car Exporters
Not All cars from Japan have low mileage
We’ve seen cars that have less mileage in North America compared to the same model year in Japan. Ask questions about the mileage. Has it been city driven? Highway driven?
It is true that you can find low mileage cars in Japan but not all the cars have below average mileage.
Not All cars from Japan are well maintained
Many Japanese owners seem to know less about their cars than the countries who import them. Some cars are very well maintained but many vehicles in Japan don’t receive the basic maintenance.
Ask, ask, ask. Know what you are buying. Don’t assume every car was maintained perfectly.
Odometer fraud in Japan is possible although illegal (as it is everywhere in the world)
There is no way to know who does odometer tampering in Japan. Be vigilant of this no matter how good a car looks or how much of a friend you consider the company.
There is no such thing as an accident/rebuilt car from Japan
Be aware that many vehicles on the market whether locally or in Japan have had accident damage and some are going to be complete rebuilds.
The best defense is a physical inspection by someone who is good at detecting frame damage.
Japan is an honest country and if I have a dispute with my exporter someone will help me.
Forbes recently listed Japan as one of the most corrupt countries in the world. You’re unlikely to have any recourse unless you know someone in Japan if you have an issue or dispute with a dishonest Exporter.
A high grade car means the car is in perfect condition
Auction grading systems vary from auction house (A grade 3 in one house may be a Grade 4 at another), and in fact many high grade cars have significant body damage, rust and corrosion and even accident damage.
The auction grade also does not take into account the mechanical condition. We’ve seen firsthand examples of a Grade 4 car needing a full engine rebuild straight from the auction house.
Again, there are definitely excellent condition cars at auction, but it’s best to have a physical inspection done.
Auction sheets are always accurate, honest and unbiased
In general the auction houses are generally reliable, but they often somehow “miss” small details at some auction houses, whether it is rust on the trunk lid and other defects. Some problems or deformities with the car are considered normal for the age of the car and are sometimes not mentioned on the auction sheet at all (it varies by auction house). Remember that the inspector has to go through a lot of cars and they are human.