There are two different types of customers who want to import a used car from Japan:
Customer Type One: Wants to buy a good used car from the Japanese car auctions or from the used car dealers here. He’s not looking for just one make or model or year or type or sub-type; he’s just looking for a good deal: something low mileage and in good condition.
Customer Type Two: Knows exactly the used car he wants to import from Japan: the make, model, year, type, even sub-type; and he wants only what he wants. Nothing else.
Most of our SUV buyers or minivan buyers or service van buyers are Type One Customers.
Our Alpina buyers are all Type Two Customers.
There are so many good SUVs and Vans out there now and buyers of these vehicles often are not chasing just one make and model only, they are open to any good unit in that class of vehicle.
But with Alpina….when you want Alpina….there’s only Alpina; nothing else really comes close.
The man who wants to buy a used Alpina from Japan knows exactly what he wants and why he wants it. He’s not looking to import just a BMW. (If you can ever say: “just a BMW.”) He wants an Alpina and that’s it.
He wants this unique verification plate (as on an Alpina we recently exported to Canada) on his car, because it means a lot. It’s not the plate itself, of course; it’s what’s behind it:
And the Alpina that has been imported by the exclusive agents in Japan, and serviced by them, will have this seal:
which, I’ll tell you honestly, may raise the asking price a bit but is important when you are looking for provenance and service history.
Interestingly, the guy looking to buy a classic Alpina online is usually flexible as to sub type, and that’s because all these machines share the same target: perfection; he’ll go for a B6-2.8 or a B8-4.6 or a C2-2.5 (like this beautiful one, recently seen on sale here in Japan and now sold),
because they are all fantastic machines, leaders in their class.
And he’ll love that car once he’s got a good example of it; but he won’t settle for a 323i or a 328i or a 325i on which those Alpinas are based.
What is it about the Alpina, especially the ones from the ’80s and ‘90s, that makes them so special to the people who want them?
I think that it’s the idea of perfection. Perfection of tune, perfection of concept.
Have you ever tuned a car? Changed and improved the engine for better power, better response, even just better exhaust note? Tuned the suspension for better handling and road holding? Even bought a different set of gears to get the gear ratios that you think are right for the car and right for your style of driving? Have you ever done the modifications and changes to a car that you think the car should have, and maybe should have had from the factory?
This is seeking the hidden perfection that is in a car, in its design. And that is what Alpina does.
And while you did all that tuning on your car (and had a good time doing it, I’m sure), have you even thought: Wouldn’t it be great if you could do all that tuning, all that improving, all that seeking for perfection, but do it while the car is being built? Wouldn’t it be great if you could tune the car while it was on the assembly line, or while it was still even at the design stage?
This is what Alpina Burkard Bovensiepen GmbH does. They work independently, but hand-in-glove, with BWM. They take great cars like the 323i or the 328i or the 325i and take them further toward concept and tuning perfection by making cars like the B6-2.8, the B8-4.6, and the C2-2.5.
Working with BMW, Alpina makes their cars on BMW production lines and that’s where they do their magic, their tuning, their perfection.
Alpina knows what they want; they know their target of perfection, and at Japan Car Direct our Alpina customers, too, know what they want and they know their target cars.
When a customer comes to me and says: “I want to buy a used minivan from the Japanese car auctions.” I know that he will gladly accept all my help and advice that gets him a good low-mileage vehicle in that class. It can be a Toyota, a Honda, a Mazda. All good makers of minivans. As an adviser and a car finder, I can help this customer.
But when a customer from the US, or Poland, or the UK, or Canada writes to us and says:
“I want to import an Alpina B3-3.0 to the States.”
or: “I’m looking for an Alpina A4 to bring to Poland.”
or: “I’m planning to buy an Alpina B10 Bi-Turbo at auction in Japan. Can you get it for me?”
We know that he’s asking my help to get him an Alpina, exactly an Aplina, and only an Alpina. We can tell him all about the other great up-market sports sedans and coupes in the world but We am wasting our time with an Alpina buyer. He doesn’t want our help as car advisers; he wants our services as car hunters.
“Guys,” he says, “Hunt down a good used Alpina in Japan. Find it, catch it, and ship it to me.”
That’s what our Alpina customer wants. Just that. Just an Alpina.
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!
You made the purchase and export of my 1998 Rover Mini to Vancouver Canada so easy Thank you and I"ll be back
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
I imported a van though JCD and they made the process super straightforward. They were amazing at communicating and quick to answer any of my questions. If you are looking to import a car I would highly recommended them.
Awesome experience !! Their service was extremely good and efficient. Yoshiro was soo patient with my many requests for information and translations. The vehicle purchased was better than expected. I would definitely consider using their services again.
All I can say about the experience is AMAZING! I worked with Matthew and he was helpful through the whole process of bidding, purchasing, and shipping the car to me. He had an answer for every question, and was always quick to respond. Enjoying my new Mercedes and I will be using them again!
All around exceptional experience! Matt was great to work with and guided me through the entire process with ease. As a first timer, importing was a bit nerve racking but JCD did a great job providing a cool little truck I can enjoy here in Delaware. I look forward to picking up the next toy/vehicle through them.
The experienced, grizzled veterans of the import scene. They were very accommodating with all my questions and concerns. It was my first time importing, so everything was confusing and intimidating, but I'm happy to report everything went as planned! I'm definitely calling them back when I finally come up with an excuse to import another!
Mathew was great to work with and made what could be a scary daunting experience very easy. I am super happy with my car and am sure I will be importing with them again!
Working with Mathew and his team was an absolute pleasure. I went from never knowing you could import your own vehicle to owning my own Suzuki Cara within 6 months. Mathew was so helpful and completely transparent with me during the entire process. We spoke on the phone and via email and he helped me pick the perfect car exactly within my requirements. He dealt with my excitement and inexperience with patience and understanding. I couldn't be happier with my experience and will absolutely use Japan Car Direct again when it's time for another project. I highly recommend Mathew and Japan Car Direct.