How to import a car from japan?

how to import a Japanese car to Poland, Toyota in the sun

More and more often, it is difficult for drivers to find on the local market a car which corresponds to their needs, so they increasingly want to import a car from abroad. Also, there is no denying that recently, among announcements about cars imported from abroad, there are many offers of Japanese car brands. In Japan, cars are often treated as a hobby. This is why they are so popular, and the transport of a car from Japan is much more accessible than it may seem at the beginning.

A car imported from overseas from the Land of the Rising Sun may turn out to be a perfect solution, because Japanese cars are characterized by: low breakdown rates, excellent technical condition, good value for money and extremely low mileage. The next advantage of Japanese cars is the fact that all technical parameters are always precisely described on websites. But when importing your dream vehicle is the most worthwhile solution? Namely, it is worth importing vehicles from Japan if you are targeting rather high-end cars.

Despite left-hand traffic in Japan, the sale of cars with the steering wheel on the left side is a status symbol and, as for vehicles in perfect technical condition, they usually stand quietly in the garage. Then, when their owners get bored, the cars end up on advertising portals and then on auctions. Moreover, Japan has a very well-developed underground, which further contributes to the low mileage of Japanese cars. 

Anyone interested in importing a vehicle from Japan will find themselves among the advertisements about importing cars from Japan. Whether they are looking for the latest technological innovations or they search for a good used car. As a matter of principle, even the used car market is sometimes filled with real gems whose perfect technical condition is astonishing. However, it has to be noticed that if you import a used car, it is better to work with an agent than to import a car on your own, because used cars and their technical parameters must be checked meticulously, so that the cost of importing a car is not in vain.

dlaczego warto kupić japoński samochód, rynek ładnego japońskiego samochodu

cars imported from japan - how does it look like?

There are two possibilities – directly through a car auction house or indirectly by delegating importing a car to specialists. But before buying and organizing a transport of a vehicle you have to read many announcements and see which vehicle is satisfying for you. Which car has something that attracts your attention? This will be a big help during communication for people importing cars.

Car auction house

The first option is surely cheaper, but also less tested and more difficult. But you don’t have to worry as much about language barrier, because Japanese advertising portals usually also advertise for sale in English. To participate in the auction, you have to select a specific car model, pay a deposit (which will be fully refunded if the bidding is not won) and then make payment. With the purchase of the dream car and loading onto the nearest ship, the customer should receive a set of documents for the car: invoice, export certificate, marine insurance, inspection file (JAAI, JEVIC) and de-registration certificate (Export Certificate). The car is then shipped by sea to Europe (most likely to Germany or to the Netherlands), from where its onward journey remains to be determined between buyer and seller. You can visit an example of a car auction house here or here.

importowanie samochodów z Japonii, koszt transportu samochodu

Delegating importing a car to specialists

If the import of a car is handled by a company and an agent, who has the possibility to import a car on an individual order, you will be sure that they will do all the formalities for us until we pick up the car. It has recently become accepted that a customer may specify the desired condition of the car and the parameters for their dream car, instead of selecting a Japanese vehicle from an auction on their own. In order to do that, an agent should ask them many questions about their car preferences. Then, on the basis of this data, an agent undertakes to find a car exactly suited to the customer’s needs. And once a model is chosen, an agent undertakes to transport the car to an indicated place in Poland. This solution guarantees the good technical condition of a car and clear information about the cars we are interested in. You can find such agents for example here or here.

So where is it worth buying a car?

It all depends on whether you have price or certainty in mind. Remember, however, that an experienced agent may be able to negotiate a more favorable price. By relying on the skills of specialists, you will also get a thorough check of the vehicle’s condition instead of having to rely only on the information available on advertising portals. Regardless of your choice of the purchase method, your dream car should take around two months to arrive.

stan techniczny sprowadzonego auta, potrzebne dokumenty do sprowadzenia pojazdu z Japonii

Importing cars from Japan - which documents should be prepared?

In order to legally drive on the roads with a newly-purchased car, you have to register it in Poland. To do that you need to have some documents translated into Polish:

  • Japanese export certificate (250 zlotys for translation)

  • proof of ownership (invoice or bill)

  • customs documents proving payment of duties

In addition, you will also need: the certificate of technical inspection of the vehicle (done within the European Union), the vehicle identification document, the receipt of payment of excise duty, the license plates and the payment confirmation of the registration fee.

You also have to remember that before registering the vehicle, it is essential to do the zero inspection at a Motor Vehicle Diagnostic Station, without which your dream Japanese car couldn’t drive on Polish roads. Remember as well that a car inspection carried out in Japan won’t be recognized in the European Union, so you have to transport your dream car first, and only after picking it up, you can take care of the overall condition of your car.

kontrola stanu technicznego samochodu. koszt rejestracji auta

What is the cost of importing a car from Japan?

Preparing all the documents shouldn’t be such a challenge, but what is actually the cost of importing a car? In addition to the obvious price of cars themselves imported from abroad, there are also many other charges that have to be taken into account. To transport your dream car, you have to be patient. It is worth remembering that usually agents offer a car import calculator on their websites, which significantly facilitates the purchase of a car and helps to calculate the cost of importing a car.

jak sprowadzić japonski samochód, japońskie auto jedzie po drodze
Here is a list of costs of the purchase of a car from abroad:
  • auction house commission and internal charges (approx. 5% of the value of the car + predeterminate amount)

  • the translation of the car documents

  • the cost of transporting a car to Europe (approx. 1100 zlotys)

  • duty (in Germany 10% of a car value, in Poland – 23%)

  • VAT and excise duty in Poland (engine capacity up to 2 liters – 3,1%, over 2 liters – 18,6%)

  • costs of registering a car in Poland (approx. 500 zlotys)

  • the zero inspection of a car in Poland (approx. 100 zlotys)

If you don’t have yet translations of all the necessary documents of your car, you can order them on our website.

Moreover, it is worth making sure that an imported vehicle has a properly tuned radio and exterior lighting suitable for right-hand traffic. Otherwise, their change also has to be added to the costs.

What to consider while importing a car?

In the case of imported cars, the first thing to pay attention to is the technical condition of a car. It is advisable to read carefully the advertisements of cars for sale on the portals in order to ensure that a vehicle has for example low mileage. Especially if you are interested in Japanese used cars. It is advisable to be particularly sensitive to rust, which accumulates much more easily in an island climate than inland.

You have to remember that, in some cases, importing a car from abroad may involve risks. Sometimes cars in Japan undergo not very favorable styling modifications that reduce the value of an imported car. Such information may easily be held back in advertisements about cars for sale, so the best you can do is to work with a professional who will make sure that his colleagues in Japan check the cars for sale with their own hands.

Because of the left-hand traffic in Japan, we could ask ourselves if we will have to somehow adapt the imported car to the realities on Polish roads? The most common answer to this question is: radio, exterior lighting and navigation. Lighting used in Europe is asymmetrical, while in Japan cars have symmetrical lighting.

gdzie kupić japońskie auta, import samochodów z Japonii, kupno wymarzonego samochodu

The next thing which you should pay attention to, if only in the pictures posted on advertising portals, is the placement of the steering wheel. In spite of the fact that Japan has left-hand traffic, a steering wheel on the left side is a symbol of prestige for the Japanese, which is why, mostly, cars adapted to European roads aren’t uncommon there. However, if your dream car has a steering wheel on the right side and it doesn’t bother you too much, you don’t have to worry, because driving it in Poland is perfectly permitted.

Original text: Łukasz Wiśnioch

Translation: Emilia Niedźwiecka