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 tire 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.
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 a 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 are 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, 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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Yes you can. We lower our fee to 50,000 yen for our services on domestic purchases. However, you will need to pay Japanese sales tax (10%) and fees that we normally get refunded when we export the vehicle. These extra costs can be refunded to you should you end up exporting the vehicle. Also, if you were to resell the vehicle at auction at a later date the sales tax on the selling price will go to you.
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
  • review rating 5  The entire Team at Japan Car Direct has been incredible at making purchasing a vehicle from Japan quick and effortless. Matt and Yoshiro are extremely friendly, and have performed above and beyond my expectations from start to finish. No matter how many questions you may have, these guys will know all the right answers! If you’re looking for a vehicle from Japan then look no further than Japan Car Direct. 10/10 ⭐'s

    thumb Tanner Whale
    3/10/2020

    review rating 5  After ordering my minivan from Mathew and the folks at JCD, I will definetely use them again. Took three months to get the van but I am on the other side of the world. Van arrived in better condition than I expected although battery was dead and gas was extremely low. Other than that, the documents were sent to me promptly and the process of registering was seamless with the supplied documents. Thank you Matt and team and I look forward to working with you in the future!

    thumb Grant Kirby
    1/29/2020

    review rating 5  When starting my path of importing a JDM classic Land Cruiser, I spent weeks doing research before actually committing because I’d never imported anything before. I was fortunate to come across Japan Car Direct, and that’s where I met Mathew. Wow, where do I start with Mathew..... (Just kidding Chicago!) Mathew was fantastic, from spending time on Skype answering all my questions to teaching me everything I needed to know to successfully find the truck of my dreams. Well today in fact I picked up my truck at the port, and it was in even better condition than I could have seen in the pictures and from the reports provided. Guess what, just ordered another one! You are the Master Mathew. Go Hawks!

    thumb Brian Cannon
    1/23/2020
  • review rating 5  My Importing experience with Japan Car Direct was unbelievably smooth. What I feared would be a complex process became far simpler than ever imagined. From the very beginning I worked with Mathew, who provided excellent communication. I always felt informed on all costs and the vehicle’s condition. My van has arrived in the US and I couldn’t be happier. Thank you for all the help! I hope to work with JCD again soon.

    thumb Alec Anglum
    1/18/2020

    review rating 5  Had a great experience finding and importing a classic car. Worked with Mathew Matusiak and guided me all throughout the process. Would highly recommend Japan Car Direct.

    thumb Jagger Wakefield
    1/14/2020

    review rating 5  This was my first experience importing any vehicle. The team at JCD, specifically Mathew, made the process exciting and fun. The information provided from the how to video’s, the explanation of ALL the costs and even helping me choose an import broker that made the experience easy and understandable for this first time customer. Thank you for answering my every question providing guidance through my first purchase. I look forward to buying my next vehicle from you too! Patrick – North Texas

    thumb Poutler
    1/13/2020
  • review rating 5  I'm giving Mathew and his crew five stars for excellent service, and for delivering what they promised. I am a first-time importer for a van I will use myself (no resale). Mathew took me through the selection process, helped steer me away from potentially bad deals, and communicated regularly once I had selected my vehicle. He took me through the export process, and recommended Armin at EasyISF to help with the import process. I was able to track my van across the ocean, and Armin helped me work through customs clearance up through the day I picked up my tiny van. Sometimes you have to trust people and this time I picked the correct people to trust; both with my funds being wired to Japan and with trusting that Mathew and his crew had my best interests in mind. I am a very satisfied customer and I strongly recommend Japan Car Direct for your import experience. They delivered exactly what they promised.

    thumb My Name
    12/07/2019

    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!!! 11/7/19 Still have my MR2 and loving it everyday!! I'm going to Japan next month and hopefully I can find something fun for my car to bring back! Just re-read my review and I can still say my car has been nothing but great along with my experience with Yoshi and his team! Thanks again!

    thumb Kevin Heidari
    11/07/2019

    review rating 5  You made the purchase and export of my 1998 Rover Mini to Vancouver Canada so easy Thank you and I"ll be back

    thumb Scott Brunning
    10/17/2019
  • review rating 5  A few months ago I set out on my goal of importing a vehicle from Japan through an auction. After tons and TONs of research and countless emails, I decided to use Japan Car Direct as my exporter in Japan. From the beginning of my interactions with JCD, I was thoroughly impressed. My contact, Yoshi, was amazing...definitely a huge asset to the JCD team. He answered all of my questions promptly, translated dozens of auction sheets for me, and advised me of what to watch out for when looking for a vehicle. He was beyond helpful! I picked up my Kei truck at the port in Newport News a few weeks ago and couldn't be more pleased. Since then, the truck has made it to its final home in Charlottesville, VA on my farm. Yoshi and the other guys at JCD are now my go to team for more of these soon. Thanks again JCD and keep doing what you guys do! You all are the real deal.

    thumb N W
    10/15/2019

    review rating 5  Since a kid the FD RX7 has always been a dream car but i didn't pursue it till i graduated high school but the prices just for the shell over here in california was over 15k!! I kept looking around until I decided i would just import one. I found JCD while looking for the top 5 importers you could trust and they stood out more than all the other ones, and for a couple months of more research on their page until I ultimately decided I would go through them. Although this was my first time getting a car from Japan and having an endless amount questions spanning a couple hundred emails until it would freeze up and i had to make a new email thread .. Mathew always answered every question and helped me though every step. I didn't have all the funds in the beginning but they were very patient with it until i was fully ready, then after a month of having Matt give his thought on some of the FDs i was looking at we finally won the auction for a 94 Efini type R Fd3s. As we picked it up from Long Beach till the drive home I couldn't believe that it was here and soo much better just looking at the picture but i defiantly would recommend JCD to anyone looking to import their dream car too and and want to thank matt and the whole team with getting me my RX7.

    thumb Erwin Contreras
    10/10/2019

    review rating 5  I'd been looking to buy an RF series Honda Stepwagon to convert into a mini camper for a while but the UK prices always seemed too high. I had joined a few JDM import sites to get an idea of auction prices and costs (including Japan Car Direct) but just couldn't bring myself to take the next step, it seemed such a risk ! Finally after reading so many good reviews for JCD (and Mathew in particular) I took the plunge and contacted Mathew. After he answered my many questions regarding costs, fees etc I felt confident enough to pay the deposit and start hunting the Japanese auctions for my Steppy. My budget for the Steppy was pretty low (pathetic even !) but I felt Mat still put the same effort into replying to my questions and queries as he would have done if my budget had been into the tens of thousands. The result was I now have a very tidy Stepwagon with lower mileage than any vehicle I've ever owned, I've paid far less for it then I would have done buying in the UK and I've got a bigger budget now for the camper conversion. I wouldn't hesitate to buy through them again, and hope to do so soon.

    thumb Matt B
    9/30/2019
  • review rating 5  5 star experience from start to finish. Transparent and easy process, and Mat was very patient to answer plenty of questions I had during the purchase! Can’t wait to do it again because the Japanese cars from this era are pure automotive art and these guys hold the keys to the museum!

    thumb Ross C
    9/13/2019

    review rating 5  After an initial inquiry several years ago, I still wanted to get a Japanese Delica or Hiace. Matthew was immediately in contact and helped with all the details. His videos were perfect for my search. Matthew was able to answer all of my questions and my wife and I were able to make decisions based on the great information he provided. I would recommend Japan Car Direct to anyone interested in getting the right car at the best price.

    thumb Zach Matheson
    8/27/2019

    review rating 5  The staff at Japan Car Direct made what I thought would a a difficult process very easy. Matt explained every step thoroughly and his advice on details of cars was spot on.

    thumb nick creece
    8/20/2019

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