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Import regulations for used and new cars from Japan to Australia

If you want to import a used car from Japan to Australia you’ll need to look at the rules, the exceptions to the rules, and the import requirements and process.

The exceptions to the rules make importing easy. Basically, if the car was manufactured before January 1st, 1989, it can be imported.

The exception to the exceptions are where things get complex: If the car was made after January 1st, 1989 but is on the list of exceptions under the RAWS (Registered Automotive Workshop Scheme) program you can probably import it to Australia but it will be difficult and expensive. You’ll find the list of vehicles that can be imported to Australia under the RAWS program here:

The import process is not terribly tricky but you do have to go step by step, and with the steps in the right order. The Australian government site to get this information up to date is here:

If you decide to work with us here at Japan Car Direct to import a used good vehicle to Australia, we are able to recommend Australia-based customers clearance agents who can smooth the process for you and give you the most current Australia-side information.

Of course, we are here to take care of the Japan side of things: finding your used car (either at the Japanese used car auctions or at the dealers here or from a private seller), getting it to the port and through Japanese customs (we take care of all the paperwork, translations, and other documentation), and then shipping the car to you in Brisbane Port Kembla, Melbourne, or Fremantle.

As a Japan-based used car exporter to Australia we find that it is simply best to stick to the pre-1989 cars to get good value with minimum hassle.

The vehicles that we ship to Australia are mostly the good pre-1989 Japanese minitrucks like the 4WD Suzuki Carry (which can be had with the very convenient dump body). This little truck is light and very capable off road and around town; and on the farm it’s a first rate piece of kit. With its ultra low gearing in first and second in Low Range, it’s like a little tractor. Super economical, too. Parts are not a big problem and we are able to find good low mileage minitrucks in Japan at reasonable prices these days.

Japanese Kei sports cars like the first generation Suzuki Alto Works are also great cars to import from Japan to Australia as they are well made, cheap to run, and terrific fun.


Japan Side:
You’ll find full details of the Japan-side costs on our website here: Japan Side Costs
If you are serious about importing a pre-1989 minitruck from Japan Contact Us

Ocean freight is subject to changes due to fuel costs and other variables, so it’s best to contact us for an up to date figure. But at the present (April, 2015):

Ocean Freight:

  • USD  90.00 Per CBM – Up tp 20CBM
  • USD 100.00 Per CBM – Over 20CBM
  • BAF: +10%
  • Shipment is subject to space and schedule
  • Any local rates at POD is not included in the above rates

Australia Side:
When your minitruck (or other vehicle) arrives in Australia there are a number of smaller costs that need to be dealt with and your customs broker will handle those for you.

Typical Australia-side costs according to one of our very good customs brokers covering Fremantle port are looking like this at present (April, 2015):

  • Customs clearance: AUD 100.00 + GST
  • Quarantine processing: AUD 37.50 + GST
  • CMR fee: AUD 27.00 + GST
  • Quarantine fees: AUD 108.00 if it passes the first inspection, or add AUD 90.00 if it needs to be cleaned and re-inspected
  • Steam cleaning: AUD 180.00 + GST
  • Delivery to Perth area: AUD 150.00 + GST
  • Duty: 5% of the FOB Value
  • Import GST: 10% of the CIF Value and Duty
  • Customs entry fee: currently AUD 65.00 if the total clearance value is under AUD 10,000.00, or AUD 167.60 if the value is over AUD 10,000.00

These costs are subject to change but the above gives at least a fair idea of what you’ll pay to get your minitruck or other second hand vehicle through customs in Australia.

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  • review rating 5  They've somehow made what was expected to be complicated, so simple. I got all the info I needed and imported my first JDM car without a single problem. Matthew was super fast to respond and always had an answer.

    thumb Elliott Riggen

    review rating 5  A must for exporting cars from Japan. I've exported various models with these guys now and they have been exactly how we wanted them with no underlying issues or surprises when they arrive. Very pleased and will continue to use these guys in the future!

    thumb Callum Underwood

    review rating 5  This was my first time importing a vehicle for my personal use and naturally I was leary about who to go through. After looking through a few other places and after getting in touch with a longtime customer of theirs I decided to try these guys out. I can say without a doubt I'm glad I did. They are definitely professional and know their craft when it comes to getting you your dream car. Everything from getting cars inspected and bidding was completely transparent and went smoothly. I couldn't be happier with the car I bought and I hope down the line I'll be able to purchase another using these guys!! Thanks for all you guys do!!!

    thumb Kevin Heidari
  • review rating 5  I have already purchased 3 cars from this company and have a 4th on the way. They are very nice, extremely helpful, and work around your budget. I worked with Yoshi. He is very nice and made me a lot more comfortable with the wire transfers (after purchasing the vehicle), because let’s be honest, it is nerve racking to send money to a foreign country and have to wait several weeks for your vehicle to arrive. However, everything has gone smoothly, and they make it very easy to import the car of your dreams. I will continue to go with Japan Car Direct for all my japan car needs 😀

    thumb Patrick Smolka

    review rating 5  Amazing people to work with. Answered any question I could think of and never left me hanging in during the entire process. I was always kept in the loop. Matt and his team are superb in every way. From picking my car out at auction to picking it up at port they were always there and now I have great little cappuccino to drive around now! I will be using them again to bring in another car in the near future that's for sure.

    thumb Allan Thomas
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