The Import Process


Setting a realistic budget

We can talk you through the last 5-10 cars that have sold at auction and for what value in both ¥ and £sterling. From this we can calculate what the final on the road (OTR) will be.

You can also carry out research yourself from viewing our Historic Sales Data. This shows all the cars sold at auction, you can track the sold prices and gauge current market conditions.

We can translate the first 3 grade sheets, calculate guide prices and allow you to understand the final OTR prices from the sold data on 3 listings. After this a deposit is required. Deposits start at just £550 inc VAT.

The more you watch the auctions and analyse sold data, the easier it will become to estimate prices. It is also advisable to familiarise yourself with the Japanese Yen (¥) and the fluctuations as these can adjust pricing considerably!

Searching in Japan

Using our live auctions you can search over 250 auction houses throughout Japan. A BHP Account is required to view multiple auction images and grade sheets. Creating an Account is simple, free and only takes a few moments.

With our auction tools you can filter by manufacturer, model, chassis code, grade, mileage, auction house, colour and year. It is important to understand geographical location when considering a bid as the transportation cost from auction house to our facility in Osaka varies massively. We have added the transport costs for each auction house to both the auction houses page and each auction listing.

For cars of extreme rarity we can source from a few handpicked dealers and brokers throughout Japan. Feel free to get in touch with us to discuss. Ignore the prices you see on Goo-Net Exchange as these are highly inflated and we can offer purchase vehicles on a wholesale basis which can reduce the price over Goo-Net Exchange by up to ¥300,000.

Calculating a Bid

Auction grade sheets are supplied by the house and contain both an overview of the vehicle from the point of the auction house inspector and the seller. Each house has different standards and a different format. Our Auction House Guide has each auction houses location shown along with several ratings for auction size, grade accuracy, grade sheet standard and overall. Poor quality grade sheets make it very difficult to truly determine the condition of a car, whereas houses like USS have very detailed reports.

For every car we consider bidding on we have the auction grade sheet translated and that information will be openly supplied to you.

Next, we analyse the Historic Sales Data. From this we can determine what a car is likely to reach at auction. This analysis includes the cars year, grade, mileage, general condition from the grade sheet map and interior grade. Some models like the Nissan Skyline GT-R BNR32 can fetch varying amounts depending on the colour (Gunmetal and White usually fetch more than Red for example).

Once we have calculated a range of bids that stand a chance of being successful we calculate the total OTR cost for each bid and feed these numbers back to you, usually via Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger or Phonecall.

The final decision to bid is down to you. We will never bid on a car without your go-ahead.

If a car is identified more than 36 hours from the actual auction date, it is recommended we carry out a Vin Check.

We recommend this service to all our clients. It gives you the peace of mind that the car you are bidding on is legitimate and you have negated as much risk as possible.

Inspection and Bidding

We have staff at several auction houses including USS Yokohama (Tuesday), USS Tokyo (Thursday), USS Nagoya (Friday) and can also cover JU Aichi (Thursday).

When the auction houses open (early AM!) the team's first task is to find the cars they are bidding on that day and carry out a thorough inspection and feed that report back to us in real time. To find out more about our inspection services click here.

As many older cars are now Grade R it is absolutely vital to inspect prior to bidding. Although Grade R doesn't always mean "Repaired", it can mean a car that is highly modified, had a minor accident which resulted in panel replacement. Without an accurate grading identified a Grade R car would be to the standard of a normal Grade 4, but without inspection, it is impossible to determine. We recommend reading the Understanding Grade Sheets page.

The speed in which cars go through auction is mind-blowing. They aren't listed like ebay with days to bid. The car comes up, the person bidding uses a joystick (in-house) or a device connected to a laptop/PC with an encrypted dongle to allow bidding remotely.

USS Tokyo has 10 lanes and gets through a whopping 1200 cars an hour.

If the reserve isn't met within the time allotted, it goes into negotiation or "nego" whereby the highest bidder gets first refusal. "Nego" starts from an amount set by the seller. At times you can win a car via "nego" for a few thousand yen over the start price.

The entire process is fast, frantic and successful bidding is an art. There is no "if i am not winning, let me know, I'll increase my bid". There is simply no time to adjust or increase a bid!

Following our guidance on a maximum bid is the safest way to ensure you aren't overpaying and being realistic with the cars value.

Shipping

Congratulations! We've secured your next car. What happens next?

The cost of the car and all export costs are now due for payment. We have a Japanese Yen client account so receive the money from you in £ sterling. This guarantees the best rate and enables us to book the rate the moment the car is secured so you aren't open to fluctuations in the exchange rate.

While the payment is clearing we have the car transported to our secure facility for inspection, cleaning and photography. If you have any areas specific you want photographing just let us know! We'll then send over a report from our staff including the photos and general comments on condition and how the car drives.

We ship from either Sakaisenboku, Nagoya or Kobe with Hoegh Autoliners using Ro-Ro (Roll on, Roll off) shipping. The time on water can be up to 8 weeks. All vessels land at Newcastle, UK (unless we are shipping overseas, contact us for more information).

Once we have a shipping manifest, vessel name and departure date we can track the progress of the vessel online using marinetraffic.com.

Your car is fully insured in Japan, when in transit it is fully covered by Marine Insurance to the full value of the car, the car is also covered by us once in the UK.

Nissan Shipping Agency (NSA) is the appointed clearing agent and will then calculate the duty and VAT payable to HMRC as well as the dock fee. This is paid directly to them via Bank Transfer.

The rate used by HMRC can be found here.

Clearance and Prep

Once the balance has been settled with NSA and BHP have been appointed as the party collecting from the docks we arrange with NSA to collect and drive the car back to our facility just a few miles away.

Note: You cannot register any imported car in the UK with the DVLA without the Turn Team at HMRC authenticating the duty and VAT paperwork and amount paid. This is known as the NOVA. The DVLA will refuse to assign a registration number without correct payment being made.

The OTR costs are payable directly to us; we offer a range of packages. More information can be read here. Most customers opt for the premium package at £1250 inc VAT so the following applies to that prep package.

Your car will now have a full oil change with manufacturer approved oil filter and oil, a UK compliant fog light fitted, speedo conversion to allow the odometer to read in miles, MOT and if required (for cars under 10 years old) an IVA Test. We also carry out a full underseal using Lanoguard to maintain the condition of the underside through our harsh weather and to protect from UK road salts.

We have 2 detailing partners we use and one will carry out a full detail. They can spend up to 15 hours on a single car to bring the car back to life! We've seen cars transformed from looking a bit tired to absolutely gleaming. All of this is included in the OTR prep price!

Ceramic coating can also be applied for an additional £210 inc VAT and we offer alarms, trackers and aftermarket stereos and reverse cameras.

The DVLA can take a few weeks to issue a registration, once this has been issued you'll receive a copy of the V5 in the post. Forward on the registration to us and we'll have plates made up to your requirements.

You can then also inform your insurance company of the registration and arrange a collection date with us. We can also offer delivery anywhere within Europe.

Collection Day

Collection day has finally arrived! This is the day you've been waiting for! We love this day as much as you do!

We'll arrange to either collect you from the airport or train station or you can simply come to us and your car will be ready to drive away with fuel in the tank.

We'll be on hand to talk through the car and the care we have taken to present in the best possible way. We love these cars, it is our passion, our hobby as well as our job!


We have compiled an in-depth Importing FAQ which should answer any questions you may have.

Alternatively you can contact us directly and we'll be happy to help! We are on hand pretty much 18 hours a day to assist you with your next import.


Need some help?
Top