Japanese Domestic Market Vehicles (JDM Vehicles)
What does the JDM Vehicle Market offer you, the overseas buyer looking for a good second hand car?
Everyone knows that Japanese make fantastic cars. But did you know they make even better cars for the Japanese market? The competition in Japan is insanely fierce because makers battle for the wallets of the world’s most demanding consumers who always want the latest, greatest model with the most advanced technology — whether Japanese or luxury import.
This makes Japan the absolute best market for buying used cars. Not only do Japanese market models offer higher quality and technology, but Japanese diligently keep their cars in the best possible condition through attentive maintenance and tender loving care. Over 150,000 of these vehicles go on auction every week, providing unrivaled value for secondhand car shoppers around the world.
Browse through a selection of secondhand vehicles we have recently sold and exported from Japan.
Vehicles Available in Japan
View some of the secondhand vehicles we currently offer through dealers and private sellers in Japan.
German Cars from Japan
Discover why Japan is the best place to purchase used upmarket German cars — whether LHD or RHD.
LHD Cars from Japan
LHD versions of used British classics, Italian sports cars, and German luxury brands are available from Japan.
Japan is the best market for purchasing the affordable, painstakingly inspected drift car
of your dreams.
Japan offers great value on used high-performance machines like the Evo, Impreza, Supra and Celica.
Vehicles for East Africa
We help a steady stream of Kenyans, Tanzanians and Ugandans import used cars from Japan.
Consider one of Japan’s highly practical mini trucks for construction, landscaping, delivery and more.
Mini Truck Technical Points
Learn about some of the features and options available for Japan’s extremely popular mini trucks.
Mini Truck Models
Compare the specifications of five common mini trucks in Japan to determine which model is best for you.
Why JDM Is Usually Best
Here’s a sensible question: If Japanese cars are sold worldwide, why go to the trouble of doing a direct import to get a JDM car from Japan? Aren’t the Japanese cars sold in the USA, the UK, Canada, and Australia just as good?
Of course they are (nearly), and I’ve had the cars to prove it from experience: Like my ’89 Toyota Corolla wagon that never died. It had been driven a number of years by the time my mom got it second hand. She drove it for years, then gave it to me when she upgraded to a Camry. I drove it for years until I left Canada and gave it to my little sister. She drove it for years until the mechanic said that it might be best to retire the old machine honorably since her new job meant lots of long distance driving requiring ultra reliability in the Canadian winter, and no mechanic can guarantee you that once your car has done 400,000km (250,000 miles), as our Toyota had done by that point. So my sister let the old wagon go, but I want it on the official record that that car never broke down but once when it threw a cam belt (the original cam belt) at 280,000kms (174,000 miles). Yep, the Japanese cars you’ll find anywhere are very good, indeed.
JDM Offers More
But JDM cars offer more, and for guys who really know what they want in Japanese performance iron, often, very often, JDM is the best….and the only. For one thing, a lot of really great Japanese performance machines were never sold in the USA or Canada or Australia, and sometimes not even in the UK, or even sold outside Japan at all. Think of the early Nissan Skyline GT-R: Oz and New Zealand and Hong Kong did get this one, but, in the early years, that was it, nobody else outside Japan did. But lots of performance enthusiasts wanted it. Really wanted it. It gave you blistering performance, excellent handling, and Japanese reliability. That’s JDM sports machinery in a nutshell.
It’s the Power
So right here is one reason why JDM is the way to go: JDM cars very often have higher stock power outputs than the overseas versions of the same car. Look at the situation with my beloved Toyota MR2 (SW20 chassis) with the normally aspirated (NA) engine. In Japan I could get the sparkling 3S-GE, surely one of the best ever pure sports car engines in the two liter class, giving me a nice 163 hp at 6,800rpm. (And a tough little unit, that engine is, with its beefy iron block, but watch for worn valve guides on the earlier ones. You can check this on cold start after the engine has been sitting overnight: if you burn off some oil after the first five to ten seconds after start up, and it continues for about twenty to thirty seconds or so and then clears up, one of the guides is leaking a bit of oil. It does not affect how the engine runs, but it will start to suck oil over time and foul the spark plug in one of your cylinders.) In the European market buyers had to settle for the more pedestrian version of the engine, the 3S-FE which gave you only 138hp. In America the situation was worse and you got the 5S-FE, the 2.2liter version of the S engine, with only 130hp. And the situation with the turbos was similar, they also had less power than the JDM cars. Now all these SW20s were good, mid-engine, exotic sports cars, but the JDM units were the best and that is what guys are hunting for them now to import from Japan. (Here’s a nice yellow MR2 Turbo that we sold to a guy in the States.)
This difference in stock power between JDM cars and overseas Japanese models is one reason that JDM wins.
And It’s the Upgrades
Another reason is upgrades, both power and handling upgrades. There is a large and dynamic sports and performance car tuning market here in Japan, especially in the world of stock turbo machines. When it comes to getting really high power out of your mill, you basically have to go turbo since the bottom end stress that a big belt-driven supercharger puts on the engine can really blow it when you cram the accelerator down hard at idle before the oil pressure has had a chance to build; turbos are just a bit kinder here, and your typical stock JDM turbo engine is super tough and can take lots of extra boost. This is why JDM drift cars dominate.
We talk about some of the best ever Japanese drift cars here on our blog, and if a JDM drift car is what you are looking to buy, don’t miss this page here and especially here if you’re looking at the big rigs in the world of turbo drift cars from Japan.
So for stock power (especially stock turbo), and for power and handling upgrades: JDM all the way, especially when you consider that these cars will bust many of your European super cars, but will not bust your wallet.
And It’s Cost and Quality
And that’s another reason to look seriously at importing a JDM unit yourself: Running costs and overall quality. A Japanese JDM car will tend to be a bit better quality than your overseas units. There are a number of reasons for this and it is certainly not a hard and fast rule, but….yeah, JDMs will likely be a bit better.
But above and beyond these questions of sheer power and performance, of upgrades and quality and costs, there is the whole delightful matter of selection.
And It’s Selection
There are quite a number of really lovely Japanese sports and performance cars that were never exported overseas, others were sold overseas but with lower engine outputs, like my MR2 that I talked about above, and you can find out about some of these great JDM cars (like the Supra and the Integra R-Type, which is becoming available for export as used JDM to the USA, this year, 2020, by the way) here on the Japan Car Direct blog. And the whole wonderful world of Japanese Kei sports car, of which I am a total fan and have been a very happy owner, I’ve written extensively about here, here, here, and here, and then, still under the rough heading of “JDM,” are some of the European sports, performance, and super cars that were made for and exported to Japan, what we often call “European JDM.” Have a peek here and here.
O.K., O.K., I’ll stop. I’m getting excited now and need to cool down a bit before I overheat and spin a bearing. (Local area oil starvation, you know.) But, in the end, what JDM imports, Japanese Domestic Market imports, offer you is really good stuff.
And It’s Condition
And we still have not exhausted the reasons to buy JDM. One more I’ll leave you with: Condition. Used vehicle condition. The used cars that we find and export from Japan, whether they are made here or are foreign makes, are in much, much better shape and with far lower mileages on them than what you’ll find in the USA or Canada or the UK or Australia. It seems to me that mileages on the used cars that we buy from the used car dealers or at the used car auctions here in Japan are about half that of what you find on used cars in those countries.
So for all these reasons: stock power, upgrades, quality, choice, and condition, importing a JDM vehicle has a lot to recommend it.
Why Japan Car Direct?
Japan Car Direct has a solid reputation for satisfying its customers. We pride ourselves on honesty and serve customers in a straightforward manner with clear communication, an open book policy and a set service fee.
- Reasonable prices
- Friendly professional service
- Vast selection through 100+ auctions
- Knowledgeable, highly experienced staff
- High-quality, professionally inspected vehicles
Do yourself a favor, call Mathew at Japan Car Direct. Let him take the worry about doing business over seas off your plate. Not knowing anything about importing vehicles from Japan, I spent countless hours studying and trying to figure it all out. The headaches were too much! After Mathew walked me through the process it was a piece of cake. We've already bought a couple and are now buying more with complete confidence. Thanks guys, much much appreciated.
Can not recommend these guys enough. I dealt with Matt, who was extremely helpful and patient with all of my stupid questions. The way they have the whole process is so convenient, especially with the live video translations of the auction sheets. I will absolutely be returning to them in the future.
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.
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.
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!!
I was daunted by the prospect of purchasing a vehicle overseas. Mathew was right there to offer direction and assurance along the way. He was quick to respond and most importantly, his word was good. Everything came to pass as he advised. The only point that went differently from his anticipation was the duty tax, which inherently has room for interpretation and may depend on the port of delivery. Would I go to Mathew and JCD again? Absolutely! With his help I obtained a suzuki carry with 8k miles, 4wd hi/lo w/ diff lock, in excellent condition, for a total of 5k from auction to driveway--tremendous value in my estimation. Thanks Mathew, the little truck is a fine addition to the farm. My kids, and my wife, love to drive it:)
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!
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.
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!!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
Mathew was super helpful if helping me get more info and bid on cars I was interested in.