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Thread: Used Japanese Import Cars: Any Problems?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
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    United States
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    Question Used Japanese Import Cars: Any Problems?

    I'll be coming to NZ from the US in late February. I drive a 2006 Prius here. When checking on TradeMe, I see what look like great deals on 'selected' imports of cars from Japan, and am thinking of signing up for, say, a 2012 Prius with more than basic features (I really like cruise control), probably with an AA inspection ... would be great to buy prior to arrival and have a car to drive away.

    Are there any things that require caution? For example, does Toyota's standard 8 yr warranty carry over when cars are imported? If not, are the extended warranties worthwhile? Can I expect rude shocks about where warranty service is available (I'll be 25 km south of Blenheim on South Island)? Have there been problems with crooks in the import business? Is it worth doing some background checking on the dealership?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    North Canterbury, New Zealand
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    I would distrust any mileage given for an import, so just get it inspected and if it looks OK it probably is OK, particularly for Toyotas. The least risk would probably be to buy through a Toyota dealer - one of their selected used cars. It will cost you more but you will get a decent warranty and I suspect that they will mend faults without much fuss.

    I really doubt whether you will get to use a cruise control much where you are headed. There are only a few roads and they tend to be twisty and mountainous south of Blenheim. The road going to south to Kaikoura is likely to be closed for months or years following the recent earthquakes. There are NO motorways or even dual carriageways in that part of the word; just the occasional overtaking lane.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    NZ (Auckland; via Canada)
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    Probably most vehicles here are ex-Japan used ones. Bought my Suzuki Swift from one 3 years ago and it's been without issues. Just scrutinise the ad versus the actual specs...the dealer tried to pull a fast one on me, but I caught 'em out. And negotiated a nice discount

  4. #4
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    Sep 2015
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    United States
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    Thanks, guys.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    Christchurch, New Zealand
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    I can highly recommend Miles Toyota in Blenheim if you are looking at their cars. I bought my toyota (Japanese import) from them when we arrived & always received excellent service.

  6. #6
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    Sep 2015
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    I bought my Japanese import. The car is great. Only problem is the manual and all the dashboard notations are in Japanese 😉. I'm sure I can find an online version in English...but it can be distressing when warning lights come on and you're clueless about what they mean.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    Auckland, NZ
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    22

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    I've bought a Toyota (Japanese import) about a year ago at a registered car dealer. Came with a one year mechanical warranty and had 0 issues with the car this far.
    As above, unfortunately the manual is in Japanese (my dashboard / radio etc. is in English).

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    New Zealand
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    For peace of mind, can buy extra warranty when you buy a second hand cars here, I got Japan imported car with 3 years extended warranty for under 1000$. I would recommend to check personally and test drive before buying it.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    North Canterbury, New Zealand
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    You need to be very careful to read the small-print when buying used car warranties. Years ago I bought a Toyota that came with a basic warranty; it covered all the major items such as engine, gearbox and axle which was fine as far as I was concerned. When the gearbox failed in a big way it turned out that there was a limit to what the warranty would pay per claim and it was nothing like the cost of any of those major items supposedly covered.

    Another one to watch out for is a warranty that looks very comprehensive, covers everything down to the radio but which as an excess of several hundred dollars per claim; in reality nothing much is covered at all.

    An exception to this seems to be the Toyota signature range scheme. One of my car-pool has one of these and it is nearing the end of its warranty. It recently went back to the dealer here in Chch (it was bought in the NI) and they did a whole lot of work with no quibble or payment whatsoever - crankshaft seal (major job), water pump, brake disks, stereo etc. Pretty impressive but of course you do pay for it in the price of the car but if it is peace of mind you are looking for...

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Chch, NZ
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    2,207

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    Unless it's a global wide recall notice, don't expect any local dealers to honor the warranty of a newish model car that's been imported overseas direct by the owner.

    Personally in this modern day of age, no new car should have major problem in the 1st 3 years of use. The reason why Toyotas has a good reputation is due to long term reliability well after the warranty period.

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