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Thread: Experience with importing a Jeep from Japan

  1. #1
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    Question Experience with importing a Jeep from Japan

    I am thinking of buying a Jeep from Japan and having it shipped to New Zealand. I am all over the NZ transportation Agency's website trying to make sure I do it all properly too.

    Has anyone on the forum had any experience with acquiring a vehicle from Japan? I have noticed the Jeep prices in Japan are significantly cheaper than in New Zealand. I hope this is because the market for Jeeps in New Zeland is stronger than in Japan. Are the used cars from Japan usually rubbish? Are the dealers generally trustworthy? Is there a way of checking the vehicle's history? In the US we have Carfax. Is there a way of checking the validity and trustworthiness of Japanese car dealers? What are some problems to look out for?

  2. #2
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    Plenty of people import them commercially and re-sell (with profit) in NZ. Perception is that most, are clocked at the port and even the dealers don't know the real milage. You never get any service documents, or other paperwork. Also, the radio won't work although plenty of work arounds.

    So as an individual you'd be buying unseen in Japan, hoping it's as described when it gets here and with very little recourse if it's not. Big risk I'd have thought. But buying form an import dealer seems pretty common.

  3. #3
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    Please note: you will be required to pay both duty (which I think is 10%) and GST (currently 12.5%, going up to 15% later this year) + all other fees associated with shipping/clearing/registering the vehicle.

    http://www.customs.govt.nz/traveller...rges+apply.htm

    I would guess that the reason that vehicles are so much cheaper in Japan is because all of these costs are factored into the price of the car when you buy it from an NZ dealer.

  4. #4
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    Importing isn't the problem. It's getting it registered and legal on NZ roads.

    If the vehicle is a unibody construction, ANY tell tale signs of a previous major accident can mean the car will never be allow on NZ roads. The registration process is very intense where they strip out the interior exposing the bare metal. They look to see if there's any previous repairs done to the body that will compromise the vehicle's structure. The problem is when you buy sight unseen in Japan (even if you send a person to look at it), there's no way if the seller is lieing to you or not. You can't be sure the vehicle has never been in an accident.

    Vehicles from Japan that show a full service record usually pass through NZ Transit with flying colours. That's because the records (usually from the dealership ie. Toyota) have service records of when the oil change has been done, what repairs, etc. This helps a lot in verifying the true mileage.

  5. #5
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    I brought my car in with me from Japan. It was pretty trivial...

    If you’re curious as to how the maths work: Japanese paperwork and shipping cost 250,000 Yen, NZ paperwork and delivery in NZ was $900, it was $350 for WOF, plus $350 for registration (inc. a year’s tax). Total about $4500. In Japan the car was worth maybe $15,000, and in NZ it was worth maybe $23,000, so overall we came out slightly ahead. This was in 2007 - no idea about any new tax laws, sorry.

    The point for us was it was *our* car, and we'd owned it for the necessary time outside NZ to not have to pay any taxes. I had to sign a statement saying that we wouldn't sell it for two years, or we'd have to pay some capital gain tax or something.
    Last edited by Chiba; 19th July 2010 at 07:22 PM.

  6. #6
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    Thank you all for the information. I am going to do it. I found an importer in Auckland to work with the dealer in Japan. Hopefully it all goes smooth.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kewlest View Post
    Thank you all for the information. I am going to do it. I found an importer in Auckland to work with the dealer in Japan. Hopefully it all goes smooth.
    Good that you've a plan, but really wouldn't it be wise to wait until you get here and then consider your options? For example if you've been comparing the prices with those adfvertised here, then you're not factoring in the 20% or so that the sticker price is over the sale price.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duncan74 View Post
    Good that you've a plan, but really wouldn't it be wise to wait until you get here and then consider your options? For example if you've been comparing the prices with those adfvertised here, then you're not factoring in the 20% or so that the sticker price is over the sale price.
    You are right and I should listen, but I am hard headed. However, the Jeeps I have seen advertized in NZ are either red and/or automatics. Those two things are deal breakers for me. Plus, I would hate to get to NZ and discover that I have to go back to Japan just to get what I want and wait 8 weeks to get it there.

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    Ok, but I've seen plenty of non-red ones. I would agree that they are very much auto-centric here. Now I was dead set against autos in the UK, and in the end had to 'settle' for one in my last car, but found it actually very good. Wasn't like the old autos, worked very well. However for off roading then I can definately see the need for manuals. Are you going diesel or petrol, and I assume you knwo the differences in fuel prices and all the secondary duties on diesel.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duncan74 View Post
    Ok, but I've seen plenty of non-red ones. I would agree that they are very much auto-centric here. Now I was dead set against autos in the UK, and in the end had to 'settle' for one in my last car, but found it actually very good. Wasn't like the old autos, worked very well. However for off roading then I can definately see the need for manuals. Are you going diesel or petrol, and I assume you knwo the differences in fuel prices and all the secondary duties on diesel.
    Yes, diesal is a rape in NZ. I am petrol. I will have to get use to the left hand shift.

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