Importing Japanese Vehicles

Submitted: Thursday, Apr 29, 2004 at 12:17
ThreadID: 12475 Views:3157 Replies:8 FollowUps:3
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Importing Japanese Vehicles


We are looking to import to Australia a Mitsubishi Delica, with the thought of the transporting it to Papua New Guinea where we currently live (we will be moving back to Aus soon).

My question is, has anyone ever imported in Australia for personal use, by the number of websites I have read this can get quite tricky. We have imported from Japan into PNG, which was straight forward and quite easy.

We are looking for something that is in van form, 4WD, manual, diesel and has no electronic fuel injection (due to our location and the ability to have it fixed).

Any recommendations on importing into Australia and van recommendations would be very much appreciated.

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Reply By: Steve L - Thursday, Apr 29, 2004 at 13:15

Thursday, Apr 29, 2004 at 13:15

I brought a Porsche back from the UK in the late '90s. I can go through what I did, however the requirements may have changed since I came home.

Obtain a Vehicle Import Approval.

The trickiest part is keeping all documentation as to how much you pay for the vehicle, the date you buy it and the date you decide to ship it to Australia. When I came back, the authorities used the car valuation at purchase, less depreciation at a specified rate for the period of ownership (5% for the first 12 months, plus 1% for each month of ownership after that up to a max of 76% after 6 years ownership) , to determine the Customs Value of the car. You then have to pay duty on that value (customs, GST -which I avoided as it didn't exist - plus luxury car tax if applicable). There was also a requirement that you had to own the vehicle whilst overseas for at least a year, and the longer you owned it the less the duty was.

Duty was also at tiered rates depending on the depreciated value of the car - there was one rate if the value was under $20k and a much higher one for anything over $20k. I think it is now a flat 15% of the Customs Value, plus the 10% GST on top of the total value (Customs Value plus Customs Duty).

All details are at:

with the actual guide document (Adobe document) at:

It's quite easy if you get all the paperwork sorted out, and know the duties/taxes, etc., to confirm that it is worth your while bringing the vehicle back.

Good luck!
AnswerID: 56555

Follow Up By: jjpng - Thursday, Apr 29, 2004 at 14:03

Thursday, Apr 29, 2004 at 14:03

Thanks so much for posting. When we imported a Hilux Surf into PNG, customs charges were not as high. Customs have now toughened up their laws to make it more expensive. Customs is worked out as cost of car + shipping, then 40% was charged, then another 10% Vat (like GST) on the total. We were very fortunate that we imported before the tax bracket went up to 110% + 10% vat. Vans are only 10% + 10% Vat, hence our reason for wanting to go in that direction.

Thanks for the website links, we will look into that.

FollowupID: 318314

Reply By: Member - Roachie (SA) - Thursday, Apr 29, 2004 at 16:06

Thursday, Apr 29, 2004 at 16:06

I would think that the 2nd hurdle (ie: once you've overcome all the customs dramas), would be the ADRs and getting the thing registered. I've heard the authorities are pretty savage on this aspect and complying can be horrendously expensive.

I've spent about 7 years in PNG over a period between 1972 and 1990 under 3 separate secondments with my work. It has been a shame to see a beautiful country regress to it's current state of relative lawlessness.
AnswerID: 56577

Reply By: jjpng - Thursday, Apr 29, 2004 at 16:19

Thursday, Apr 29, 2004 at 16:19

Thanks for your reply. At this stage we are still in dreaming mode and are working through all the pro's & con's. What is the ADR's? Yes, customs can and often is a drama.

Yes, PNG is a beautiful country...

AnswerID: 56580

Reply By: Member -Bob & Lex (Sydney) - Thursday, Apr 29, 2004 at 17:23

Thursday, Apr 29, 2004 at 17:23
ADR stands for Australian design rules & if it doe's not comply you can't get it registered
AnswerID: 56587

Reply By: jjpng - Thursday, Apr 29, 2004 at 17:30

Thursday, Apr 29, 2004 at 17:30
Thanks, I just found out what RDA means. It seems a near impossible, expensive feat.

I'm interested to know if they have cars they recomend?

After some of my afternoon web searching, I'm starting to like this idea less and less.

Back to the drawing board!

AnswerID: 56589

Follow Up By: IT Doctor - Thursday, Apr 29, 2004 at 23:56

Thursday, Apr 29, 2004 at 23:56

Maybe it will be safer to buy one of these in Perth, Australia that has already been registered here, ship it to PNG and then when you return it will be ready to drive in Australia complete with compliance plate. Sure it may cost a bit more as you will be paying retail instead of direct from Japan prices but all the paperwork and hassles will go away.

Try this site for more info

FollowupID: 318400

Reply By: Truckster (Vic) - Thursday, Apr 29, 2004 at 18:04

Thursday, Apr 29, 2004 at 18:04
I thought they put the kybosh on imports on cars that are available on local market - or similar cars under 10 yrs old.

EG Hilux -> Surf

thats why the flood of Nissan Safaris are coming out now, 10yrs old or more.
AnswerID: 56598

Reply By: Peter 2 - Thursday, Apr 29, 2004 at 22:20

Thursday, Apr 29, 2004 at 22:20
In a nutshell the import rules/ADR compliance vary with the age of the vehicle.
Anything over 30 years old pretty easy to register, even LHD. Vehicles between 15 and 30 years old must comply with the ADR's applicable to that style of vehicle on its production date ie: a 15 y/o (1988) 4wd station wagon has to comply with whatever a 60 series wagon of the same age had to when it was first registered.
Lots of bits like seat belts, windows, windscreens, engines must have the applicable ADR certification numbers on them other wise you will have to fit new ones with the certification attached. Vehicles less than 15 y/o must comply with ADR's for that type of vehicle in the current year, ie: a ten y/o (1994) 4wd wagon has to comply with current adr's for a 2004 4wd wagon, emissions, crash tests etc in other words forget it!
As was previously mentioned this is after you have got import approval, paid shipping, cleaning, storage, cleaning again here on arrival, GST, import duties and taxes, lost on currency exchange, etc etc.
It wouldn't be the first vehicle that has been imported and never registered, remember the authorities DON'T WANT YOU TO HAVE IT so make it very hard.
AnswerID: 56638

Reply By: jjpng - Friday, Apr 30, 2004 at 09:44

Friday, Apr 30, 2004 at 09:44
Thanks for your replies. Yes, I have all but given up on importing into Autsralia. When doing a web search last night on prices for cars that have already been imported into Australia and are now in car yards - it was a real shock! But as some of you have mentioned, the expense out weighs the benefits. Here in PNG, some others have imported the Mitsubishi Delica - for a total of $7,000 AUD (including shipping & customs). In the car yards they were $25,000! We imported our Hilux Surf for about $8, 500 AUD total.

So now we are trying to figure out if it is worth buying an Australian car and importing to PNG, not sure if it will be hit for customs (through it probably will :-) or buy something in Australia and sell it again and just import to PNG...

Still thinking it all through.

Thanks for you advice!

AnswerID: 56680

Follow Up By: G.T. - Tuesday, May 04, 2004 at 15:14

Tuesday, May 04, 2004 at 15:14
DON`T. All the advice you have been given should be enough to put you off. Also there is risk of the speedo been wound back.
Regards G.T.
FollowupID: 318911

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