There are several large used car companies that specialise in transporting cars from Japan for sale in the US, and this can be a cheap way of buying models that are not available on the domestic market, or that have much better specifications for a similar price to domestic models. Remember though that while some models may be cheaper to buy directly from Japan, they can depreciate greatly in value when it comes time to sell them on and this is mainly because they will not be one of the official US models.
Japanese used car exporter Rezista and also Royal Trading make it easy to buy used cars from Japan, and have extensive stock lists available online so that you can view all of the makes and models of cars they currently have on offer. Shipping costs will depend on where you want the vehicle delivered too, but generally it will be shipped by ocean freight to your nearest port, and all the necessary paperwork will be sent to your home address so that you are able to pick the vehicle up when it leaves customs. Shipping can take from just a few days to several months, depending on when you order, which model your order (some already have deregistration documents and so are ready for immediate shipping) and also where you live.
Don’t forget to include in your budget the administration costs needed to arrange export and import paperwork, transportation from the car yard to the port and any document translations. This can add anywhere between $500-$1000 dollars onto the final shipping costs so it is important to check this before you order a car. Once the car has arrived and has been released by customs, you will need to register it, (this will involve a registration fee), and you may need to make a few modifications to ensure the car will comply with US safety standards. To find out more about registering an imported vehicle the Department of Motor Vehicles website at www.dmv.ca.gov .
Japanese used vehicles include a number of both left hand and right hand drive models, with a selection of automatic and transmission gearing, so make sure you check carefully before you order to make sure you have the right model to suit your needs. Japan is a right hand drive country so all models for the official Japanese market will be RHD. The left hand drive models available will have been designed for different LHD countries, but if you are keen on owning one of the official Japanese RHD models it is possible to source conversions kits yourself once you have received the car.
Many Japanese importers will also provide parts for vehicles upon request, but these can sometimes be very expensive to import, as many companies will only ship them by bulk. It might be worth asking the company if they can include some essential spares in with the car when it is shipped, and one company Japan-partner.com will do this for you, and are currently in the process of setting up an online auto parts shop, which would be a very useful resource for anyone buying a used Japanese car.
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