Generational Differences

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Which mini trucks can you import from Japan?
Importing used mini trucks from Japan is relatively easy. But each country has different rules on how old the vehicles must be.

Australians can only import first-generation models produced before 1989. Americans can import first and second-generation models. Canadians can import first, second and third-generation models originally sold up to 2001. And lucky British customers can import any models sold up to 2006.

Each generation became larger and more powerful.
Each generation represents the response of carmakers to new Japanese government regulations increasing maximum allowable vehicle size and engine displacement. Most mini trucks closely match these specifications.

Performance, size, weight and refinement generally increased over the years. But maximum load capacity remained the same at 350 kilograms (771.6 pounds). Some people prefer earlier models because they are lighter, simpler and less expensive while still having low mileage in many cases.

 

    • First-generation mini trucks (1976 – 1990)
      Used mini trucks that originally sold between January 1976 and February 1990 can be imported from Japan to the majority of countries around the world. These vehicles are up to 3.2 meters (10.5 feet) long and 1.4 meters (4.6 feet) wide with engines up to 550cc.550cc mini truck engines typically produce around 35 PS, which is more than ample for off-road and city driving because the vehicles are so lightweight and their transmissions are geared low. But power is somewhat lacking at high speeds, especially when traveling uphill.Many models from the mid-to-late 1980s are equipped with a turbocharger or supercharger, for extra power, and options like 4WD and air conditioning.

 

    • Second-generation mini trucks (1990 – 1998)
      Used mini trucks that originally sold between March 1990 and September 1998 can be imported from Japan to most countries except Australia. These vehicles have longer bodies and larger engines than earlier models, with a maximum length of 3.3 meters (10.8 feet) and a maximum displacement of 660cc. The higher 660cc displacement more than compensates for the additional weight of newly required safety equipment and provides noticeably stronger power than first-generation models at high speeds, especially uphill. Regulations limited engine output to 64 PS, perhaps in anticipation of turbo and supercharger advances. But average horsepower for this generation is around 40 PS.

 

    • Third-generation mini trucks (1998 – today)
      Used mini trucks that originally sold from October 1998 onward can be imported to Canada (if sold up to 2001) and the UK (if sold up to 2006). These vehicles are larger, more powerful, safe and comfortable than earlier models and provide more amenities. But they are also heavier and more complex. They are up to 3.4 meters (11.2 feet) long and 1.48 meters (4.8 feet) wide, with much of the additional length used for a required front safety extension. Their engines are the same displacement (660cc) as second-generation engines, but produce more power at around 48 PS.

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  • review rating 5  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.

    thumb Rafael Cuadros
    5/20/2019

    review rating 5  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!

    thumb chris casali
    5/15/2019

    review rating 5  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.

    thumb Jesse Wencius
    5/14/2019
  • review rating 5  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!

    thumb Joey Rodriguez
    4/12/2019

    review rating 5  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!

    thumb Kayla D'Ambrosi
    3/18/2019

    review rating 5  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.

    thumb Tristan Gilbert
    3/05/2019
  • review rating 5  Just purchased my second car through Japan Car Direct. Could not be more pleased with their customer service. Matt went above and beyond to help me find the right car. Translating countless auction sheets, messaging sellers, requesting vehicle inspections, putting up with me and my requests well after his time in the office, etc. I can happily and honestly say that I would recommend this company to anyone looking to purchase a car from Japan and that you will not be dissappinted. Very kind, helpful and professional. Can’t wait for vehicle number 3.

    thumb Tanner Himmel
    2/23/2019

    review rating 5  Mathew and the team are amazing. Bought my first Porsche in Japan and they have helped me all the way through. They are competent and honest people, will definitely be doing more business with them. Thanks guys!

    thumb Dami Eugi
    2/13/2019

    review rating 5  Mat is is the best he was right on target and video descriptions are perfect. Shipping was alot faster than I thought it would be, as JCD didn't mess around. My van was at port and ready to go. I will be using JCD again soon, got my van now I want a car.

    thumb Lee Frye
    1/22/2019
  • review rating 5  I hunted the internet for a broker I could trust with my money. JDC won and I am so happy I went with them. Matt and Yoshi are great. Matt puts up with a very demanding customer in me, I can certainly take up time. Matt sends me cars from the list I sent him, when I don't have time to check the auction. It is scary how accurate Matt is when I ask him to predict a selling price. He is always very close which sometimes is not fun but he really does know pricing. They have walked we through buying two cars now and have held my hand on both. I really apricate all the time and knowledge. After purchase they have also held my hand through the whole import process which can be daunting for a first timer. I am a dealer and Matt is great at suggesting other cars to import as well. I am very satisfied with my choice

    thumb John Holmes
    1/19/2019

    review rating 5  What can I say? The service was friendly and good, and I got my car, which ended up being in a better condition than expected. Sure, there were couple of unforeseen snags that no-one had anticipated, but overall, it was an extremely positive experience. Hommat meni hyvin, auto tuli Suomeen eikä noiden pyytämä hintakaan ollut mikään mahdottoman paha.

    thumb metziih
    1/12/2019

    review rating 5  I bought a 1993 RX7 FD from these guys they are great! Communication was very good, and prompt! Iv has my car now for 6 months and have been loving it! I would recommend emailing them and looking into the options! They are upfront about price and will steer you into the right direction on what the car will take to own! I’m working with Yoshiro to buy another car now! I’m very pleased with the service I received. It can be scary sending lots of money to a person you don’t know for a car you have never seen, but they will come through with everything they tell you they will do!

    thumb Spencer David
    12/19/2018
  • 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
    11/12/2018

    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
    9/28/2018

    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
    9/17/2018
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