Buying a vehicle sight-unseen can be formidable, even impossibly frightening. Not to mention the process that comes with it.
Rest assured, it is not very complicated, and we are here to keep the process smooth and as stress free as possible.
The first thing we ask our customers to do when deciding on a vehicle, is to really research the models and options of their prospective choices. We can, of course, recommend and offer educated advice on various different models based on your needs. It gives us a good starting point on where you should be budget and condition-wise, as well as narrowing our search.
Send us an email or call directly and tell us about yourself and what sort of vehicle you are in the market for. -We like to know where in Canada you are, and where the vehicle will be driven primarily. -Let us know if you would need the vehicle delivered locally (BC), across Canada, or if planning to pick up yourself at the Port directly. We can help with all three. -Give us a rough budget to work with.
After contacting us we will send you an import agreement for utilizing our services. It is a very straightforward document that outlines the process and risks involved in very plain English. We ask that you read, understand and sign this agreement and make a refundable deposit of $1000 CAD.
Now that you've gotten you're feet wet, we are at your service to provide suggested auction listings of vehicles that fall within your specifications, and make bids on your behalf. This includes auction sheet translations, and an unbiased opinion of each vehicle. We're not going to sell you a car. You're going to buy the car YOU want to buy. You are always free to browse the auctions as well. We make ourselves available day or night through email, text, skype, and phone.
We will only ever bid up to your maximum amount with special consideration of inland transport costs. For example, if a vehicle will incur extra cost to transport to the nearest Japanese Port than the included amount, that amount will be subtracted from the bid amount. Bidding is usually the longest process in buying a car from Japan. You may bid on 20-30 cars before winning (depending on the model) At the same time, there are cases where the first car we've bid on is a winning bid! It is really a game of who wants it, how bad they want it, how much they're willing to pay for it. This can change day to day.
Okay, so you've made a bid. You've bid on 10 cars previously and things seem less than positive. Then at 11:30pm you get an email that says "Dear Sir, You've won a car!" Now you can't sleep.....
Things are straightforward from here. We send an invoice for the purchase price of the car, our fee (less your deposit) and await a shipping cost and date. You can advise your shipping preference(RORO or Container) Payment is required within 48 hours of notifying you. The vehicle is generally then transported to nearest Japanese Port or Agent's storage yard. Once we receive a shipping cost we will invoice you. Again, payment is required promptly. We will advise a date when the vehicle will depart Japan and arrive in Port in Canada.
In the meantime, you will receive additional pictures from multiple angles inside and out, and in some cases video clips of your vehicle. If there are any parts in the car, you will be asked if you would like to have them shipped separately or discarded by the Agent. Parts cannot be shipped in vehicles unless they are in a container.
All Documents are then sent out via DHL/Courier. We will ask beforehand that you advise us if you plan to use you own broker/yourself to complete the customs process, or we clear the vehicle for you. Shipping generally takes around 12-14 days from vessel departure date, and all RORO shipping arrives at Annacis island/New Westminster. The vehicle then goes through the customs admittance process via our broker. Once the vehicle is cleared, we will forward the broker, customs and dock charges to you. We will give a breakdown of these costs beforehand. Please be aware the dock gives 10 days free storage from the day the vessel arrives. Most vehicles are cleared in a few days time with no issues. However, be prepared for slight delays and be sure to advise us if you need the car picked up, stored and/or delivered to you.
Your new vehicle awaits! Be prepared when you go to the docks. A small jerry can of fuel, booster pack/jumper cables and a small tool kit are recommended. You will also need an "inspection permit" purchased beforehand from your local ICBC autoplan agent to drive the car home that day. You will need to present the bill of sale and export certificate.
Now, you've got the vehicle in your driveway. Almost there.
Compliance and Inspection time. Look around for inspection facilities that are familiar with JDM cars. Look over your car for the obvious things like brakes, tires, glass, lights etc. Bring all the paperwork to the inspection facility. Chances are they will fail it, advise you to replace a few little things, and return to be verified. We can certainly recommend and advise what most models will need so you will have an idea of what to expect in this area.
Once your vehicle passes and you get your little sticker, comes the most fun part of all;
Registration and Insurance. Phone your local insurance/autoplan agent to see if they are familiar with registering JDM cars. If they seem the least bit unsure, move on to another broker. It makes a world of difference. Make sure all your paperwork is present and in order beforehand. They will want to see the car/VIN's, so park close-by. You will be charged a Registration fee as well as PST. Agents who have experience registering JDM cars should take around 45mins to an hour to complete with you walking out the door smiling, plates in hand.
Bought, Shipped, Inspected, Registered, Insured. Trust us, there is no feeling quite like it.
Alternatively, If you wish to purchase a vehicle you've located from a Japan based dealer, the process is much the same, minus the wait to win a car from auction.