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Thread: Buying an Import car vs buying a used "NZ NEW" car

  1. #1
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    Default Buying an Import car vs buying a used "NZ NEW" car

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    Just wondering what are the pros and cons of buying a used 'nz new' car as apposed to buying a fresh import of a used Japanese car? My partner and I plan to buy a used car around the 15-20k range when we arrive in Auckland then drive it down to Nelson (we figured Auckland has the best range plus we'll be able visit relies and see some of the North Island on the way).

    My concern is if you buy an import car that there aren't that many of or is considered as a 'luxury' model will you be paying a huge premium on servicing and parts? For example the cars we are looking at are the 02-04 VW Passat/Audi A4 or Lexus ES300, all of these except the lexus seem to be selling in reasonably large quantities so I'd imagine parts shouldn't be too much more expensive than say a Subaru Legacy, or would they because of the brand?

    I understand almost every car in NZ is an import so essentially there isn't a difference, its just that I am wondering whether if the models sold new in NZ are cheaper to run than equivalent import models?

    Also I noticed a few of them give a price + on roads, does this mean you have to register the car yourself or does the dealer do this for you and how long does this take as we will only have 3 days or so to buy a car and drive south.

    I realise this is a lot of questions and I'd imagine some (or all!) may have already been answered elsewhere but I have done a search of topics and didn't find the answers myself.

    Cheers

    Tim

  2. #2
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    The only difference I found with NZ new vs Japanese import is the labelling - NZ new it's in English, Japanese import it's in Japanese. For example I have no idea what radio station I like because it's all Japanese (likewise the large sticker on the passenger sun visor which I assume is telling me not to put a baby seat there due to airbag).

    I think this only matters in something like a Prius (we had one of these initially, and insisted on NZ new as it's quite good to be able to understand what the computer screen is displaying!) Not even a simple software change either - if we'd bought a Japanese import we'd have had to spend upwards of another $2k getting an English display fitted.

    I would quite like to know which radio station I like listening to - but not enough to bother changing the perfectly good radio which is in our current car

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tim S View Post
    Also I noticed a few of them give a price + on roads, does this mean you have to register the car yourself or does the dealer do this for you and how long does this take as we will only have 3 days or so to buy a car and drive south.
    Hi Tim, we just bought a car this week, its a Japanese import which we got from a dealer. The registration & licensing was included in the price of my car. My car didn't state +ORC, so I assume you'd be liable for the registration, & possibly, vehicle licensing if its advertised as such. So, we test drove car Mon & it was ready to drive home Tues afternoon. The dealer registered it for us & it took less than a day once I'd given him my driver's license details. Don't know if that's normal as its the first car I've bought.

    Here's the link to the NZ Transport Agency if you want details on registering & licensing a car: http://www.nzta.govt.nz/index.html

  4. #4
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    A few other thoughts come to mind....

    A NZ New car will have all its registration / WOF / service history recorded so harder to change the odometer without it being noticed.

    A NZ New car should have all parts etc readily available in NZ whilst an import may not i.e. some of the import models aren't available in NZ.

    For Japanese imports, would have expected a NZ New car to retain its value better than an import as everyone knows that imports are cheaper.

    Anyone know if imports have manufacturer warranties? For example, many NZ new cars have 3 - 5 year warranties which can be passed onto the new owner (assuming the import is newer than the warranty period of course).

    Ian

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    It all depends on where the car was made? For example with European makes say Mercedez, the NZ new models may of been made from Germany, while 2nd hand imports of the same model / year could of been made in Malaysia or Indonesia. The quality is quite clear between the 2 because they don't often use identical parts, have different options / specs, and the assembly line quality tolerances are not even the same.

  6. #6
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    Thanks for the replies all, much appreciated.

    Good to hear its a fairly quick process once you decide on a car with a dealer and that they register it for you. Wasn't looking forward to that little hassle!

    IanW99: I think most Japanese imports are older than 5 years old as the Japanese government encourages people to get rid of cars after this age by charging them heaps to keep cars past that age. Which is why so many cars are imported from Japan I suppose, that and they have a lot of cars to spare! I'd imagine it would be the same for other countries too though I may be wrong.

    Good point about the place of manufacture of a car Super_BQ, I forgot that a car of the same make and model could be made in a different place, definitely something to look out for, especially if its a newish toyota made in the US.

  7. #7
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    One difference:

    We've got one of each, both from large dealers:

    - the "NZ New" one came with full service history, original manuals etc.

    - the European-made but Japanese-registered import had no manual, no service history and no real paperwork at all. We have no idea who owned it nor how many owners it's had...which was a bit strange at first.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by tim&em View Post
    One difference:
    - the European-made but Japanese-registered import had no manual, no service history and no real paperwork at all. We have no idea who owned it nor how many owners it's had...which was a bit strange at first.
    In my experience that is typical and one of several reasons why I would take odometer readings on imports with a huge pinch of salt!

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    Quote Originally Posted by IanW99 View Post
    Anyone know if imports have manufacturer warranties? For example, many NZ new cars have 3 - 5 year warranties which can be passed onto the new owner (assuming the import is newer than the warranty period of course).

    Ian
    My new car is a Japanese import, 3yrs old. It has a 3yr warranty (which is for Toyota Signature Class* vehicles) effective from date of purchase, so I get AA roadside assistance, free WOFs & free servicing for the next 3 yrs. And I love my new car!! (3 'NZ' days old today!!)

    *http://www.toyota.co.nz/UsedVehicles...SignatureClass

  10. #10
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    Regarding the odometer reading, from what I have read this was a major issue in the past when the cars they were importing and their subsequent profit by selling a low mileage car was higher. But now because of the costs involved (both in time and money) to wind an odometer back it usually isn't worthwile as the extra profit they would get is less than what they spend doing it. Also modern cars are a lot harder to do it to, especially with the switch to digital odometers. I guess dodgy computer boffins charge more than dodgy mechanics in Japan.

    Also I notice the AA offer a odometer certification inspection: http://www.aa.co.nz/motoring/buyings...s/default.aspx

    A few of the cars I have seen advertised state they have an odometer certification, not sure if it is from the AA or not though.

    I noticed a few dealers advertise cars as being 'AA appraised', I take it this means that the AA has done a simple check to make sure its in good mechanical order and not a complete check inc. odometer readings and such?

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