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Japan’s Used Car Import Breaks Records: How Cars Are Imported And What Could Be The Catch

Date: June 4, 2023 Time: 00:56:20

If “Japanese women” are cared for properly, they rarely break.

Photo: Evgenia GUSEVA


And the “Japanese” is even nothing! Every driver knows it. Especially now. Over the past year, car production in Russia has fallen by 67% and a flood of used foreign cars has flooded the country. Mainly from Japan. These are the results of the first two months of the year in the used car market (according to the Avtostat agency):

66.6 thousand used cars were imported into Russia in January-February.

This is 2.8 times more than in the first two months of last year.

52.1% of used cars came from Japan.

There are several reasons for such popularity of “oriental” cars, and the good reputation of used “Japanese women” is just one of them. Another reason to pay attention to a car from Japan is that the ruble has strengthened against the yen for a long time, and high-quality imports have become more accessible. And the Russian authorities have canceled the requirement to install the GLONASS system on second-hand Japanese – this is another saving of 50 thousand rubles on each car. Yes, Japan, under the sanctions, prohibited the shipment of cars worth more than $49,000 to Russia, but this had little effect on business, mainly the economy models that are brought to us. And the ceiling of 3.7 million rubles for our money allows you to show off, whoever you want.

– The main flow of Japanese cars to Russia is from 3 to 5 years, – told KP Sergey Loginov, an expert in the selection of cars in the European and Asian markets. – They have the lowest import duty. Depending on the size of the engine, an average of 20% is obtained, and if the car is small, less. Protection rights are established on cars less than 3 years old: 48%, so as not to undermine the national automotive industry. For those over 5 years old, duty also bites: depending on the size of the engine, about 40% comes out.

In addition, in the same Japan, automobile laws and customs are arranged in such a way that there is no point in getting rid of cars that are less than 3 years old; they are still covered by insurance. And it is no longer profitable to maintain cars older than 5 years – too expensive inspection.

“KP” survey

Photo: Dmitry POLUKHIN


Experts warn: when buying a car from the Land of the Rising Sun, be careful. There are many offers on the Internet to buy a car already brought; this is a risky option. Only the car god knows in what conditions the “Japanese woman” was brought to Russia and with the help of what kind of shock therapy they were resuscitated.

So it is better to buy on your own. You don’t have to go to Japan for this. An agreement is concluded with one of the many Russian companies that work with a Japanese auction that sells second-hand cars. You pay a deposit and they start picking up a car for you. They show what is up for auction and how much it costs. Choose, transferred money and track how your car is loaded on a ship in Nagasaki, arrives in Vladivostok, goes through all the procedures and is delivered to your city, and that’s it, here it is, with keys and documents.

Many people think that foreign cars come to us in a state of “flying not sitting down.” Deception.

The experts have listed some of the pitfalls that can haunt a lover of Japanese driving.

1. “Twisted” mileage

And as a result – a price fraud.

– If the car has a high mileage, even in good condition, it may not be a very high price at auction, – says Sergey Sotnikov, general director of the Ussuri Avtodealer DV company, which has been working with Japanese auctions for many years. . . – Some sellers buy such cars, “increase” the mileage to match the appearance, and sell them at a handsome profit.

Photo: Vladimir SAYAPIN/TASS

2. Builder

– The constructor is the maximum disassembly in nodes. All this is done directly on the ship, and the car is imported into the country as spare parts. Customs duties are much lower, – says Sotnikov.

Nothing seems to be illegal. But the same method is also used in the scheme called “import under documents”. And this is a crime.

– The designer is taken across the border and a car is assembled from it, – continues Sotnikov. – If the buyer has documents for a car of the same model, same year and color, then a newly assembled construction car replaces the old one. They cut out the bar with the body number from the old car and weld it onto the new one.

This method has one big “flaw”: it is illegal.

“If the inspectors find such a car, they will confiscate and cancel the TCP,” says Sotnikov. – The other day, a Toyota Crown was found on the road in my presence.

3. Forgery of auction listings

Each car at a Japanese auction is evaluated by experts on a seven-point scale and recorded on the auction sheet. This is the main criterion for the quality of the car.

But crafty importers can falsify the auction listing.

– For example, as a result of an accident, the rear wing is stuck. This part is not removable, which means it has to be cut out and a new one welded on. In Japan, nobody does this, the car is assigned an R rating, which means a bucket of nuts, and they sell it for scrap, Loginov explains.

But even such a car can easily go through customs.

– In Vladivostok or even on a ship, they weld at least a new wing, at least a roof – our craftsmen can change anything, paint, varnish – it turns out beautiful, – our expert reveals the secrets of thieves. – Then they falsify the auction sheet – They put a normal score of 3.5 – 4 points. And they sell it. But the quality of such repairs, frankly, is disgusting. When you start riding, due to the temperature difference, vibration during movement, the putty peels off, these places begin to rust …

Only numbers

Photo: Dmitry POLUKHIN


But with all the possible pitfalls, the main thing that determines the choice is still the price.

– In the European part of Russia, the difference for the same model with right-hand drive and left-hand drive can reach a million rubles, – says Sergey Sotnikov. – For example, we brought a 2022 Toyota Hilux van to a customer from Kostroma. Even taking into account the duty of protection of 1.3 million, the auction car cost him 3.3 million rubles. And we searched the city for him: the same car, but left-hand drive, cost 4.4 million rubles.

In addition to the price, there is another reason. In Japan, you can buy a car that is not in the European part.

– In the west (this is how the Far East calls the European part of Russia. – Ed.) There are practically no, for example, decent minivans at an affordable price, – says Sotnikov. – And in Japan you can take a minibus in good condition for 1.5 million rubles – it is suitable for business and as a family car.

And there are cars in general, which, in principle, do not exist with a left-hand drive. This, for example, is the legendary Toyota Crown, practically a Rolls-Royce for 2 million rubles. The crown on the grille and the inscription Royal Salon in Latin calligraphy on the rear bumper, combined with high driving performance, a low transport tax (6379 rubles) and a luxurious interior, make it a dream car for those who They haven’t earned a real Royce yet, but I often think about it.

“The royal crown on the radiator grill said it all,” enthuses a driver from the Far East with 23 years of experience. -In the lane she travels, taxis, she stops in front of an obstacle.

What are you more, as the poet Pushkin wrote.

Let’s count?

Photo: Dmitry POLUKHIN


Left or right?

The eternal dispute of motorists – which steering wheel is more convenient. The Far East and Eastern Siberia choose the one on the right, the central regions with Moscow and St. Petersburg prefer the one on the left.

“The main problem is that right-hand drive drivers cannot see what is happening on the road ahead of the car in front,” says auto expert Igor Morzharetto. – This is especially inconvenient on narrow two-way roads.

In fact, in the usual left-hand drive, it has been slightly shifted to the center of the road, and the perspective is at a glance. You can see where you can get after passing if a reckless driver rushes in front of you in the opposite direction. On the “right-hand drive” to stick out “with one eye” will not work.

However, on multi-lane roads it is easier – you can safely overtake in the right lane. Even safer: the further to the right the lane is, the slower the movement. True, there is a strong belief among the people that overtaking on the right is prohibited, but these are legends of deep antiquity, such a prohibition disappeared a long time ago.

Our colleague, the Komsomolskaya Pravda military officer Dmitry Steshin, has been driving a right-hand drive car for a quarter of a century and is satisfied. So much so that about 5 years ago I bought the same one, but smaller, from my wife Yulia at a Japanese auction. The main thing, as the choice of him explained, is not low price, but true Japanese quality.

But there are those who have already eaten the samurai auto industry.

“Nothing will make me sit behind the right wheel,” Sergey Loginov is categorical. – When I lived in Siberia, I drove this one for three years, but in Moscow I switched to the left and now I don’t want to go back to the old one.

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.

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