Frequently Asked Questions

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Japan Car Direct (JCD) is a Limited Liability Company specializing in the sourcing and worldwide export of used JDM vehicles. JCD is a licensed dealer with over 10 years experience, and we are members of all the major used vehicle dealer auctions in Japan. Our relationships with specialty dealers across Japan allows us to acquire vehicles in excellent condition at wholesale prices. The services we offer for the price, including import guidance, beat the competition. We are a small, efficient family company, providing professional, personalized services to all our customers. Trust us to handle all of your needs!
JCD provides all of its customers with no frills professional service. We work with an open book policy allowing customers to see where their every yen is being spent. It is this philosophy that separates us from the majority of our competitors. In the end, all of the dealer/exporters have equal access to the auctions, so it’s really about trust, and the level of service provided to each and every customer. Nobody works harder for customer satisfaction than JCD.
Yes, if you have Skype on your computer or cell phone you can use it to contact us. Please click on our Skype button at the bottom of the page. Alternatively you can call: +81 43 301 4997, fax: +81 43 206 1864 or email us: [email protected] You can also fill in our email contact form here or check out our Facebook page.
If a customer is for some reason unable to complete payment in full, part of the deposit will be used to re-enter the vehicle into the auction. The remaining amount of the deposit will then be refunded when the auction is complete. When a customer wins at auction the deposit can be kept on account with us to allow for bidding on additional vehicles or can be subtracted from the total invoice value for a winning bid.
Of course JCD is happy to assist anybody interested in JDM cars. However, please be aware that some countries have restrictions in place which only allow for importation of vehicles by licensed dealers. Please check with your local government agencies and familiarize yourself with the import procedures and government/custom regulations in the country of destination, not limited to, but including regulations on emissions, age of vehicle, steering, aftermarket equipment, and any vehicle testing or certification necessary before importation.
The auction sheet below is an example from the USS auction network. Most of the auctions use slightly different sheets. Please contact us for a detailed explanation and translation of each particular report that you are interested in.
auction-sheet

S / 6 – The car is less than 12 months old from the first registration date. As good as new. The exterior and interior are in immaculate condition.
5 – A very difficult grade to obtain, the unit will be in near perfect condition with very minor imperfections.
4.5 – A very high grade that you can be confident in. The car may have some very slight imperfections in the body work. Mileage will be higher than a grade 5.
4 – The exterior may have some small scratches and dents. The car is in above average condition, and often has maintenance records. Will only need minor maintenance/repairs if any at all.
3.5 – This is the most common auction grade and the range of condition is very wide. We recommend getting a third party, professional pre bid inspection on all vehicles, but especially grades 3.5 and lower to confirm a vehicle’s condition. Will need standard maintenance and may need minor repairs.
RA – A car that has had MINOR accident damage and has been repaired well. Aside from the minor damage and repair the condition can be as good as grade 4.5. Definitely worth an inspection!
3 – The exterior has many noticeable large scratches/scrapes, paint blemishes, and/or large dents. They will require body work and/or painting. The interior will likely have some combination of tears, cigarette burn marks, and/or stains. These vehicles will require repairs inside and out to varying degrees.
R – The car has accident history and the damage may or may have not been repaired. Like grade 3.5, the range of condition is very wide. We recommend getting an inspection. The inspectors will be able to tell us where and how severe the damage is. This is a grade often associated with drift and rally cars.
2 – The car is in very poor condition and often denotes the presence of corrosion holes – PASS!

*** / 0 / 無効 / Blank Grade – Either of these marks indicate one or more of the following: 1. The vehicle has not been inspected by the auction house 2. The vehicle has been in a major accident 3. The vehicle is not running 4. No claim. We can still often get inspections on these grades.

Please send us any links you would like translated to [email protected]

Interior / Exterior Detail
These grades are often written below the auction grade on the sheets. The grades given are A through E and 1 through 5 with A and 1 being the best condition. They resemble the grading above

Auction Sheet Abbreviations
AC – Air conditioner
FA/AT – Automatic transmission
F5 – Manual (5-speed) transmission
PS – Power steering
SR – Sunroof
AW – Navigator
AAC – Climate control air conditioner
CA – Column automatic transmission
F6 – Manual (6-speed) transmission
PW – Power windows
TV – Television
KAWA – Leather seats
AIRBAGU – Airbag

E3 – Some dents which are barely visible.
U1 – A dent which is the size of a thumb.
U2 – A dent which is the size of a palm.
U3 – A dent which is more than size U2.
Y1 – A tear which is the size of a thumb.
Y2 – A tear which is the size of a palm.
Y3 – A tear which is more than size Y2.
W1 – A panel which has been repaired slightly, and is in good condition.
W2 – A panel which has been repaired slightly, and has a slightly wave.
W3 – A panel which has been repaired slightly, and has a conspicuous wave.
S1 – Rust which is the size of a fist.
S2 – Rust which is more than size S1.
C1 – Major rust corrosion which is the size of a fist.
C2 – Major rust corrosion which is more than size C1.
X – A panel which needs to be replaced.
XX – A panel which has been replaced.

2

3

4

The inspectors call us from the car and we guide them through the vehicle. We have them check the engine for any leaks, vibrations or noises. Check for any maintenance stickers. Check the radiator for any leaks and coolant level. Check for any leaks and the operation of the power steering motor. Check the severity of an accident and quality of repair on an R-rated vehicle. Check for undercarriage rust and corrosion. Check the undercarriage for scuffs and dents. Check the drive shaft and suspension. Check for any leaks from transmission or differentials. Check acceleration and any exhaust leaks of smoke. Check the tires. Check for any brake dust and leaks. Check the trunk for rain water, rust, spare tires and tools. Check the exterior and condition of paint. Check the electrics, including sun roofs, power windows, headlights, wipers, air conditioning, radio, etc. Check for any check lamps. Check the clutch and gear shifts or the AT for time lag and shock. Check the condition of the interior, including nicotine stains, tobacco smell, rips, burns, stains, loose paneling, missing bits, wear and tear, etc., Check the windshield for chips. Check any modifications made to the car and quality of installation. And finally, we ask the inspectors honest opinion of the vehicle. We can also request for additional pictures to be taken at USS auction houses.
Yes. The yard staff can do a variety of simple maintenace jobs and we have trusted mechanics at each port for bigger jobs.
As well as bidding live there are several bidding terminals we use to enter our clients’ bids depending on the time, bid, vehicle, and auction house. In the event 2 or more competing dealers bid using the same terminal only the highest bid will automatically be entered. As always the highest bidder will win for only one bid increment above the second highest bidder so in some cases that can be less than the JCD bid. This works both ways so we always recommend to bid the absolute maximum you would be happy winning for and hope to win for much less.
For cars at dealers across Japan, we must first call to see that the car is still in stock and that they are willing to sell wholesale. We aim to purchase vehicles at wholesale prices because it is cheaper for the customer, requires less documentation for export and deals can be completed from our offices. Many dealers will not sell wholesale for several reasons. Some dealers simply want to keep the best cars in Japan, where others prefer to sell their cars with service and warranty packages to assure repeat business from a customer. This is retail and in Japan it is not as simple as paying a higher price. A retail purchase requires our staff to be present at the dealership, the vehicle needs to be reregistered in our name, taxes and insurance must be paid, the vehicle is required to pass Shaken road inspection, and proof of parking must be confirmed by the local authorities. Once these things are completed we would finally be able to deregister the vehicle for export. The extra time and costs associated with retail purchases make it prohibitively expensive for our customers and therefore, we do not offer such a service. If the dealer is willing to sell wholesale, we will get more information at your request. We hold dealers to a high standard by requesting additional photos, video if possible and confirmation of mileage via the title. If the dealer is cooperative it is a good car. The costs and process of buying a vehicle off a dealer lot is otherwise the same as buying at auction.
Yes, there are Mercedes, BMWs, Porsches, and other foreign vehicles with left hand steering. Unfortunately it is very rare to find a Japanese model vehicle with LHD in Japan.
When two or more JCD clients want to bid on the same vehicle we let each party involved know they have competition. JCD offers an open bidding system whereby each client has the opportunity to offer their maximum bid. We take only the highest bid offer and enter that amount on our bidding terminal. The highest bidder can always win for less than his max which could be lower than the competing bids from other companies. At all auction houses the highest bidder pays only 1 bid increment on top of the second highest bidder. By not entering the competing, lower bids from JCD clients we are not pushing up the base bid price. Bidding the absolute maximum you’d be happy to win for and hoping to win for less is always the best plan.
JCD has contracts and excellent working relationships with the oldest forwarder in Yokohama, The Keihin Co., Ltd., , Eastern Car Liner and Autohub giving us easy, fast access to ship bookings worldwide. We will get a container or RORO booking depending on scheduling, pricing and car condition to best fit our customer’s needs.
Yes. Storage is free for 60 days at the RORO yards. Additional long term storage can be arranged. Please inquire at [email protected].
Yes, JCD handles a variety of buses, campers and construction equipment. Some of the auctions specialize in smaller sized forklifts, shovels, bulldozers, cranes and a good variety of large trucks, including mixers, fire trucks, car transporters, dump trucks etc.
Yes. JCD will be happy to provide you with whatever parts you require. We can purchase new, used, rebuilt, and OEM compliant parts, and send them to you. Depending on the destination country, we can often have the parts loaded into the vehicles and exported at no additional freight cost.
Yes, we work with several breakers that cut vehicles to the exact specifications of our customers and have them loaded into containers. Vanning will be completed on site and the breaker yards are close to JCD so we can personally supervise the process. For more information please inquire here.
Yes, please register on our Vehicle Search Engine. You will then be able to search for the vehicles you are looking for at your leisure, 24/7.
We are licensed broker and will bid on your behalf, only ever with your approval.
Using the auction search engine is easy.
1. Register at Vehicle Search Engine
2. Enter the Japanese Auctions section of the site
3. Select the maker and model of the vehicle and click Search.
4. Narrow your search by selecting the year(s), mileage, engine size, chassis code, auction grade, color, transmission etc., and all of the available vehicles at auction will be displayed.
5. You can view the auction report, a front, rear, and sometimes an interior photo. The auction location, car specs, mileage, color, chassis number, auction time and starting bid price are also displayed.
6. When you see a vehicle you are interested in, please copy and paste the internet address (URL) in an email or on skype, and send it to us. See our Vehicle Search Engine Video Tutorial.
7. We will then translate the auction sheet and inform you of the overall condition and history of the vehicle.
8. We can then discuss whether you want a third party professional vehicle evaluator to do an additional inspection for you, and what price range you are willing to pay for the vehicle depending on the finer points of the vehicle ‘s condition.
9. As the additional inspection will be performed on the day of the auction, it is sometimes difficult to communicate the results with you depending on what time zone you are in the world. Usually, if the vehicle meets your requirements for spec and condition, we will use your prior permission, to bid for you. Fingers crossed!!

That’s it, easy, fun and exciting. As well as very satisfying, when you win a vehicle that you really want, at a price you can afford.

The auctions are held from Monday to Saturday, pretty much every week of the year. They are not held for three weeks: “New Year’s” holiday in the first week of January, the “Golden Week” holiday in the first week of May, and “Obon,” a week in the middle of August from around the 13th – 18th. The number of vehicles varies from day to day with Monday and Saturday having the least number of active auctions, and the middle of the week Wednesday and Thursday having the biggest selection of vehicles. Also the largest number of vehicles comes to auction in the spring, as the government’s fiscal year, and the school year, finish March 31st, and most graduates start their new jobs at the start of April. Also a lot of leases finish at the same time, so there is a lot of movement of people and purchasing of new vehicles in the spring.
You may bid on as many vehicles as you wish, but the refundable 50,000 yen deposit only covers one successful purchase up to 1 million yen. If you wish to bid more than 1 million yen on a vehicle we require 8% of the intended max bid.
We will bid on the cars that you have selected in the order that they come to auction, until we have a winning bid. Once the first vehicle is paid for in full you are able to bid again.
The Japanese car auctions list information regarding the condition of all parts of the car on the Auction Sheet, including the condition of all the panels, members, pillars, radiator core support and whether the vehicle has experienced an accident (minor or major). All parts that have been replaced are also noted on the inspection report. We have a professional, 3rd party pre-bidding inspection done on every vehicle to confirm the information on the auction sheet and condition of the car.

FAQs car parts

We aim to deliver vehicles to you as quickly as possible. We have every incentive to do so, as the quicker you get the cars, the happier you are, and a happy customer tends to use our service again. To give you an idea of what happens from the time you buy a car at auction, to when our involvement ends, take a look at the following steps:
1. We win the car at auction.
2. After receiving your payment in full we pay for the car.
3. We have the car transported to the nearest domestic port.
4. The documents are sent from the seller to the auction. (The original seller will usually do this in a day or so, but the auction rules allow them up to two weeks).
5. The documents are sent from the auction to us.
6. We make a reservation on the next ship heading for your country. The availability of ships depends on the destination country, and the method of transportation, either Roll On/Roll Off, (RORO), or by container.
7. The registration of the vehicle for use on the Japanese roads is canceled, and the Export Certificate is made at the District Transport Bureau.
8. The Invoice, Shipping Instructions and Export Certificate are sent to the forwarder that handles both the ship bookings and Customs Clearance.
9. The car leaves on a ship bound for the country designated by the customer.
10. The Bill of Lading, unless surrendered in Japan, the original Export Certificate, and other necessary documents are couriered to JCD from the port.
11. We send the Bill of Lading, Invoice (Bill of Sale), Export Certificate, English Translation of the Export Certificate (where necessary), and any other required documents such as JAAI Certificates, or Certificates of Origin that are necessary to take procession of the vehicle.
12. The total time after a vehicle has been won at auction, until it is loaded on the ship, ranges on average between two weeks and a month. The two main factors to consider are how fast we get the documents from the auction house after purchase, and the timing of the ship leaving the port in Japan. Then of course there is the time on the ship between Japan and the destination port, which varies from a few days, to more than a month, depending on the destination port location.
All of the costs are listed in Japanese yen, unless otherwise specified. You can use the currency converter here to calculate an approximate price in your currency. Contact Us for a free, detailed estimate.
Freight is calculated based on the cubic meter (M3) size of a vehicle when shipped RORO (Roll On Roll Off). RORO M3 rates vary by shipping line and destination port. RORO is almost always the cheapest, safest and easiest option for shipping.

We can also arrange for container shipping to most ports worldwide. The cost is determined by shipping line, destination port, and container size. Vanning charges are dependent on the number of vehicles and style of vanning. Unloading charges at the destination port will generally be higher than that of RORO and all of the vehicles and parts in the container must be listed on the same Bill Of Lading.

Yes, in addition to Japanese yen, JCD accepts payment in US, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, British and Euro funds. Please see our bank information here.

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We also accept deposits by PayPal to ([email protected])
Log into your account, and lets start working together today!

Yes you can. We lower our fee to 50,000 yen for our services on domestic purchases. However, you will need to pay the full auction house invoice which includes auction fee, sales tax and recycle fee.
The identity of the buyer and seller at auction is kept private by the auction house. The vehicles being sold are being sold as-is, and the parties involved are non-consequential. Dealerships either buy from auctions themselves with the same understanding or accept trade ins, inspecting the vehicle before so. We recommend that our customers get pre bid inspections performed on all vehicles to confirm condition. JCD will not contact or help contact any past owners as it is against auction regulations, not to mention, very much against Japanese business practices. Checking any maintenance records that come with your vehicle or using a vehicle history record service is the best way to look into your vehicle’s past.
google-review
  • 5 star review  Trustworthy group here! They made it easy from point a to b. So glad this was the first group I tried as I have heard horror stories about the import process. Highly recommended.

    thumb Cory Cheyne
    9/22/2020

    5 star review  Yoshi and team were patient in helping me find the right car (green 2016 Prius 4WD) and get me through the process. Flawless service, prompt response to communications, on delivery the car was better than expected, very close to new looking. Their recommended partners for shipping and entry into NZ were on the ball too. Highly recommended! Pro tip: don't mess around; decide exactly what you want, then bid to win.

    thumb Mike Ross
    9/18/2020

    5 star review  I had been toying with the Idea of importing a Land Cruiser from Japan for a while and to be honest was quite hesitant about doing so, as the process for a first timer seemed quite daunting. Mathew at JCD made the whole process SUPER EASY! Been a pleasure dealing with him and was kept informed every step of the way and super fast communication kept the whole process stress free! Thanks again Mathew and I'm looking forward to the next Cruiser! Cheers!!

    thumb Mike Dorsch
    9/16/2020
  • 5 star review  Mathew at Japan Car Direct has been a HUGE help and continually went above and beyond with assisting me. It was my first time bidding on vehicles at auction and having them shipped to the US. He even helped me arrange a mechanic in Japan to do some work on the Hiace I purchased so that it would arrive in the US in tip top shape and be ready to hit the road. I look forward to doing more business with Mathew in the future and you should too!

    thumb Charles Gross
    8/12/2020

    5 star review  I was totally clueless and was having a really hard time finding someone that I felt I could trust to help me with these auctions. A couple folks recommended Mathew over at JCD and I very reluctantly reached out. Yeah, I have trust issues. Dude put me at ease and really walked me through the whole process. After a couple months I didn’t end up buying a vehicle, but that’s on me. When I changed my direction, Mathew helped me wrap things up and wished me well. I have zero reservations about reaching out to these guys or recommending anyone else to do so. Very helpful, knowledgeable, prompt and everything I needed. You won’t be disappointed.

    thumb largejohn77
    7/17/2020

    5 star review  Ordered an Acty Van with these guys. five star service all the way. everything went perfect!!!. I was so afraid to import a car myself. JCD made it seamless. I would import wit them and only them again and again. Thanks guys!!

    thumb Scott Irby-Ranniar
    7/17/2020
  • 5 star review  Discovered KEI vehicles about a year ago and spent many hours searching the internet in hopes of finding an affordable van state side, to no avail. That is until I sent a message to Mathew at JCD. He was quick to respond, answered way too many of my silly questions, and worked diligently to find the right van for me. He is thorough, clear, and timely. Made the process simple and enjoyable. I am more than excited to work with him again. I highly recommend the service these gentlemen provide.

    thumb Benjamin Ferguson
    7/09/2020

    5 star review  Matt made importing a few mini trucks for our farm a breeze. Super easy to deal with and transparent with all the details involved in bidding and winning auctions, the import process, and everything in between.

    thumb Ben and Maggie O'Brien
    6/30/2020

    5 star review  My truck had been stolen and Matt was helping me bid on mini-trucks to replace it. Of course once we started bidding the truck was recovered, but Matt was upfront and very helpful both getting into and out of our auction based relationship. I would not hesitate to work with JCD again!

    thumb William Gundy
    6/28/2020
  • 5 star review  I worked with Mat and i believe i couldn't have done any better. This was my first time dealing with importing, Mat was so patient and helpful through this purchase. I also feel he got me the best deals, i have since the first purchase made two more and will continue to do business with Mat.

    thumb robert barnowsky
    6/16/2020

    5 star review  I purchased three vehicles from auction with Matt, he made it extremely easy and was available whenever I needed him throughout the entire importing process. This is not the last time I will be dealing with them. I plan to order more vehicles in the near future! If your looking for a trustworthy company to order vehicles through I highly recommend JCD!

    thumb dylan christner
    6/07/2020

    5 star review  Mathew was super helpful if helping me get more info and bid on cars I was interested in.

    thumb Matt Sparkman
    5/16/2020
  • 5 star review  Mathew and the gang were great with helping me with the acquisition of my 1994 Subaru Sambar dump kei truck. I was so excited about getting a truck I was ready to buy just about anything. Matt put the breaks on that and used his experience and knowledge to weed out the potential problems. I use my truck almost daily around our farm moving things and as a work surface. It is great. Mathew and Japan Car Direct helped my sister get a kei truck as well and I have and will continue to recommend them to anyone who has expressed interest in my great little vehicle.

    thumb Eric Amon
    5/12/2020

    5 star review  I purchased a 1994 4wd Suzuki Carry Kei truck through JCD. Yoshi helped me during the process and after nearly 3 months and over 100 emails back and forth between questions and translations of auction sheets I finally decided on a truck. I've now had it for nearly a month and couldn't be happier with the purchase. They are extremely promt with responses and answered all questions I had. Being completely new at the importing process I never felt uneasy with my decision. If I ever decide to import another vehicle I will definitely use them again.

    thumb brandon spaur
    5/06/2020

    5 star review  Excellent service from beginning to end. I registered over the new year holidays and received an automatic out of office response and also still received personal response indicating when auctions resumed. The process takes doing your own due diligence to study the cars you want but the guys at JCD will assist where they can as well.

    thumb Mike Witting
    4/10/2020

We accept refundable deposits by PayPal to ([email protected]). Log into your account, and lets start working together today!
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