Import your own dream car

Submitted: Wednesday, Oct 22, 2003 at 13:37
ThreadID: 8001 Views:4233 Replies:7 FollowUps:12
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Hi There,
There are more and more people pruchase imported popular Japanese used cars like Landcruisers, Patrol, Delica SpaceGear and some other performance car. I just discovered a Company called J-Spec which can help you to import your own car and just charge you $1000 for the service. It seems quite attractive that you can save more than $7K by importing your own rather from car yards. A example of this is Mitsubishi Delica SpaceGear can cost you $23k+ while you can import it ,landed and complied with as little as $13K. It is a big saving and you can use the rest of $10 for your fuel for entire OZ exploring. Some car yards are making big $ from these imprted cars.
Just a question though, Is someone out there ever import his own Japanese car or through agents like Are these agents trustworthy ?

I have done most of prons and cons of importing Japanese Diesel 4X4, they are 24Volts and accessory may be harder to find......

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Reply By: Truckster (Vic) - Wednesday, Oct 22, 2003 at 16:10

Wednesday, Oct 22, 2003 at 16:10
Does this sound like an advert to anyone else?
AnswerID: 34715

Follow Up By: chenj3 - Wednesday, Oct 22, 2003 at 16:48

Wednesday, Oct 22, 2003 at 16:48
No, This is a geniune question and NOT linked to any 3rd party.

My sole purpose of this question is to make sure I am NOT paying $20K for a lemon while someone has gone down the path. You may check my previous posts and find out I am buying my imported 4X4 for my exploration of OZ. If I can save 5K off my budget for the same car then I can use the the money for the fuel to travel OZ twice+. Does it make sense?

FollowupID: 25069

Follow Up By: Truckster (Vic) - Wednesday, Oct 22, 2003 at 18:50

Wednesday, Oct 22, 2003 at 18:50
So your going to fly to Japan etc to check it out before you buy it? Take the word of a car yard?

Thats where costs come in to it, they have to pay Who Flung Dung in overthere land, to check things, arrange things, etc...

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Follow Up By: chenj3 - Wednesday, Oct 22, 2003 at 22:12

Wednesday, Oct 22, 2003 at 22:12
No, I choose my car over the internet with all details published and the agent in Japan will check the car and bid for you in the auction or buy off car yards with your budget. There is a company in Melbourne actually does all paperworks for you.

I even do NOT mind flying to Japan to choose my own car if I can save $10k+ by doing so. I have done some research on 1988 Landcruiser Turbo Diesel Auto and Mitsubishi SpaceGear Turbo Diesel , they both have compatible engine and transmission in local market otherwise ,as business practice, car yards will not import them in first place.

It is still too early to just, I may post more info once I inspect one coming 1988 Landcruiser Sahara Turbo Diesel next week.

FollowupID: 25111

Follow Up By: Truckster (Vic) - Wednesday, Oct 22, 2003 at 22:46

Wednesday, Oct 22, 2003 at 22:46
88 model? you can get them here, and also dont believe the klms on imports, there is no law to stop them winding it back on an import.. also dont believe that 88 mod will have low klms.
FollowupID: 25125

Reply By: ThePublican - Wednesday, Oct 22, 2003 at 17:30

Wednesday, Oct 22, 2003 at 17:30
Er, what makes you think that the vehicles you are interested in run 24volt systems,dual battery systems as standard in a lot of them ,but all only 12 volt.
AnswerID: 34732

Reply By: Mickl - Wednesday, Oct 22, 2003 at 19:03

Wednesday, Oct 22, 2003 at 19:03
Yes you can save money, or atleast get a heap of car for your dollar (just compare an oz 4 Runner to an import Surf, about the same money but you get full electrics, turbo motor, better spec interior etc)
However there are dangers. It is almost impossible to trace the history of "Grey" imports and there have been plenty of stories of repaired wrecks, two cars welded together and wound back odometers. It's also funny how there is an image of the Japanese being goodie two shoes and not thrashing or taking their cars off road. (has anyone ever seen a street racing video from Japan?, their bigger hoons than we are!).
Other problems that spring to mind are that these cars are not built for our "rough" roads and harsh climate, things like suspensions are softer, air cons are often too small, as are cooling systems. (ie 2.4 Surfs have a reputation for over heating and cracking heads in our summer heat). Obtaining spares can also be a problem, as can sourcing wiring diagrams and workshop manuals. Then there's accesories... good luck... for example; try and get a bull bar/ roo bar for a 96 turbo Surf (airbag compt)!! fat chance...
Remember that "Grey"imports do not have to meet ADR's and don't assume that just because it's from Japan it would...Australia has some of the toughest safety and emission rules in the world.

In the end you have to weigh up the pro's and cons and make your own choice...

In regards to the 24 volt system, I haven't seen any late model imports with a 24 volt system, and I've seen a heap now. Don't assume just because it has two batteries it is 24 volt. Heaps of Jap 4wds run two batteries from the factory due to the amount of electics they have on them. ( be aware they are usally wired in parallel with no; both will go flat at the same time.)
AnswerID: 34743

Follow Up By: chenj3 - Wednesday, Oct 22, 2003 at 22:25

Wednesday, Oct 22, 2003 at 22:25

I agree with you re all possible problems I may experience with imported Landcruiser or SpaceGear although they both have compatible engine and transmission in local market. But What I am guggling is, for the same money you only can buy a 330K+ local landcruiser with very basic spec. and some hidden problems. It is well known that it always involves rick when buying used vehicle no matter how careful you are.

In my opinion the air condition may be a potential threat as Japan has very mild climate.

I may post more info once I tested my ordered 1988 Landcruiser Turbo Diesel arrived in Brisbane next week.
FollowupID: 25114

Reply By: mcboom - Thursday, Oct 23, 2003 at 09:25

Thursday, Oct 23, 2003 at 09:25
Imports have to meet ADR's. The only ones which don't are the personal imports, where you have owned the vehicle for 12months of more overseas.
AnswerID: 34821

Follow Up By: chenj3 - Friday, Oct 24, 2003 at 13:05

Friday, Oct 24, 2003 at 13:05
Hi mcboom,
Thank you for your valuable imput for this forum.

I have done most of the research and found it is NOT difficult to comply ADR regulation as long as you choose the right models for import. The compliance for widely available Toyato Landcruiser may cost you as little as A$1500 while $4500 for Mitsubishi SpaceGear and A$ 8000+ for some performance cars.
FollowupID: 25272

Follow Up By: Mickl - Friday, Oct 24, 2003 at 17:45

Friday, Oct 24, 2003 at 17:45
"Imports have to meet ADR's" well yes they do to get complience and rego.. but this will mean mods (unless you buy from a yard that has already complienced it) if you plan to import the vehicle and organise the complience yourself. Things that spring to mind are that'll you'll be up for new tyres, new seat belts, and there's other things too (ie; if the vehicle doesn't have side intrusion bars etc) Also before you import, organise the complience, as plates are only released in limited numbers.

Another thing to keep in mind are that some of the "wiz bang" gadgets fitted to Jap cars don't work here. For starters the am/fm radio won't work here. Take for example my mates Surf: No am/fm, it has a TV in the dash which won't work here, and it has sat nav/ gps also which won't work here.....

Also do some research into insurance too, some companies won't touch imports, those that do may have sky high premiums.
FollowupID: 25294

Follow Up By: mcboom - Friday, Oct 24, 2003 at 17:51

Friday, Oct 24, 2003 at 17:51
Unless you are importing a vehicle which is over 15years old, you can't perform the modifications yourself. You will have to go through a Registered Automotive Workshop, which will be responsible for importing the vehicle and converting it to meet ADR's.
As far as I know the only 4WD which is eligible to be imported under this scheme is the Delica Spacegear.
On the other hand if you decide to import a 15 year old 4WD, then the process is easier. You can do the mods yourself which may include fitting inertia reel lap sash belts in the rear seats and a flat mirror on the drivers side. You will then need an engineers report which will cost around $400, and a roadworthy to register the car.
FollowupID: 25297

Follow Up By: Mickl - Friday, Oct 24, 2003 at 18:46

Friday, Oct 24, 2003 at 18:46
Do these rules differ from state to state or something??? I am in Adelaide, my mate drives a 96 Surf, which he imported. (I admit the mods were done by a registered workshop, but he organised this beforehand) I am looking at a 97 model (intercooled...mmmmmm) so both only 5 - 6 years old. In the same yard I'm looking is a 98 GTR Skyline. Both have complience plates fitted and have SA rego. Not even close to 15 years old...... As I understand it, the only reason 3lt turbo Surfs have now been stopped imported it that the engine/trans combination is available in a factory delivered vehicle (no longer meets the low volume import retrictions)
I get my information from a friend in the import industry, is he BSing me or do the rules vary from state to state??
FollowupID: 25304

Follow Up By: mcboom - Friday, Oct 24, 2003 at 19:09

Friday, Oct 24, 2003 at 19:09
The new SEVS scheme came into effect on 8 May 2002, so Surfs were no longer eligible to be imported thereafter. You will not be able to import a Surf under SEVS, and will only be able to buy which has already been imported or bring one in as a personal import which means owning it overseas for 12months or more. The R33 Skylines are eligible for import under SEVS. For a complete list of eligible cars check out:
FollowupID: 25307

Reply By: cj - Friday, Oct 24, 2003 at 12:30

Friday, Oct 24, 2003 at 12:30
Having experienced Japanese import cars in NZ, yes you can get a lot of car for your money as the Jap cars are normally top spec and the mileage tends to be very low genuine miles but remember there are unscrupulous people in every game. It is very expensive for the Japanese to keep older cars on the road so they are cheap to buy but remember to check out insurance for grey imports as it can be a problem. If I needed to replace an engine I would probably rather get a front cut from Japan than some high mileage overpriced second hand motor from a wreckers here in OZ.
AnswerID: 34962

Follow Up By: chenj3 - Friday, Oct 24, 2003 at 13:01

Friday, Oct 24, 2003 at 13:01
Hi CJ,
As being a semi-Kiwi I know all about the imported Japanese used cars, I used to drive a imported 1990 Pajero SuperSlectect with a initial mileage of 76K. After I moved here in OZ I can NOT believe my eyes that people has to pay almost A$30K for a local 1992 Landcruiser Turbo with 300K on the clock while a imported 1988 Landcruiser Sahara Turbo Diesel with 110K on the clock costs under A$14K. In plain English, Mileage is like people's age which is of most important indicator. You may find some Japanese $by have 24V system while the local models have 12V. Actually it is not a big deal as you can find most accessories have 12V/24V switch allows you to pluin 24V source.

I find out it even more feasible to fly to Japan to choose my own car, you airfare + expense can be paid off by the saving agent fee and comissions under the table. All ADR regulations are published on the web and forms can be downloaded and printed. Thousands of dollars you saved from DIY can be used for next luxury trip or the rest you your fuel cost in your life.

A Used 1994 Mitasubishi SpaceGear can be purchase around A$5,000 in Japan and you may find them here for a A$25,000 tag.

I have looked at some website telling you which insurer to choose for imported vehicles. you will not have problem choosing insurer if your imported Landcruiser has local model in OZ.

It is also a good idea to pack you import car im the container with some used parts from Japan and these parts can pay off the shipment....

FollowupID: 25269

Reply By: G.T. - Friday, Oct 24, 2003 at 16:35

Friday, Oct 24, 2003 at 16:35
As I have said on a previous post ------- CAVEAT EMPTOR !!!!
Truckster is right , the speedo could possibly be wound back, I.M.O not necessarily here in Aust. Engine Reconditioners in N.Z. enjoyed increased busines thru this, until checks were put in place to check the speedo readings. Regards G.T.
AnswerID: 34995

Follow Up By: chenj3 - Friday, Oct 24, 2003 at 22:46

Friday, Oct 24, 2003 at 22:46
A mate told me the local car dealer also wind back the clock on Landcruiser for higher price. We have seen this kind of scandals all the time , Haven't we. Most car dealers will do whatever they could to squeeze last drop your your bolld for being rich. I will encourge people to have their imported cars being inspected with highest standard by third party as I am going to do. A independent report speaks all.

Business is business, nobody should import used Japanese car if it is that bad. why we seso many in the car yards, are car yards boss kidding with thier money or they are eyeing a group of people like me.

I used to lived in Asia and believe a car of 15 years old with 120K on the clock is a acceptable case, especially in Japan. They have well built public transportation for daily needs while 4by just for emotional needs.
FollowupID: 25329

Reply By: Member - Eric- Saturday, Oct 25, 2003 at 21:33

Saturday, Oct 25, 2003 at 21:33
I would be very carefull with all importers at the moment . We have been trying to contact one of these importeres in the last few weeks , who wont answer our calls , all laws in importing have now changed , we are trying to help a 18 year old who gave 10 k deposit for a GTR that cannot be imported till next year , ever since he gave his deposit , he cant be found ,

Please dont ask me about the changes . there still happening Venus Bay
AnswerID: 35109

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