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3 Killer Reasons You Need To Get Your Used Cars From Japan

First killer reason: Japan’s used cars are cheaper

Yes, they have to be shipped all over the world to get to you, but even despite that, you will find that used cars bought directly from Japan outweigh their weight in terms of value for money.

So why are used cars so cheap in Japan? Well, first of all, you know it’s not because they’re shoddy in the first place. Japanese brands such as Toyota, Nissan, Honda, and Mitsubishi are known throughout the world for their quality and longevity. They lead the world. No, there are several good reasons why perfectly good cars can be bought cheaply in Japan.

First of all, the dream of all Japanese companies is to be number one in their home market – Japan. In the auto industry, being number one means being the guy who has sold the most cars in a given year. But why do you worry about this? Not looking for new cars anyway? Well think about it: if you are Toyota and your motivation is to sell the most cars to be number one, are you going to be too concerned about making big profits on each vehicle? Obviously not. Sure you want some profit, but basically you want to change as many units as possible as quickly as possible, and to do that you need to keep the prices low. Therefore, the fight to be the first manufacturer of new cars has the effect of keeping prices for new cars low. And if the car starts low when it’s new, it’s only cheaper if it’s second-hand.

So the car starts off cheap when it’s new. What about the used car market? With all these cheap new cars, does anyone buy used vehicles in Japan? Of course, just like everywhere in the world, there are also used car dealers in Japan. But the next reason Japanese used cars are relatively cheap is that the Japanese themselves are culturally programmed to prefer new products. Let me give you an extreme example: where I’m from in the UK, a house is still considered basically new even after ten or fifteen years, and people live in houses that are literally hundreds of years old. Well get this: in Japan, the average age of a house is 27 years old! This means that your average house in Japan is torn down and completely rebuilt every 27 years. That’s how strong the Japanese preference for the “new” is. Therefore, when a Japanese person goes to buy a used car, they will not see it as having the value of a new one.

The final reason is that Japan has a strict and expensive system of roadworthiness tests that starts 3 years after the car is purchased. (Language-minded readers may be interested to know that this test is called Shaken, which is pronounced “shah-ken” in Japanese.) Imagine you are Japanese and you have a because a few years old that is approaching your “Shaken” test in a few months. You’d be quite tempted to change it, wouldn’t you? And this is exactly what happens, leaving many relatively new, low-mileage cars on the market.

For Japanese companies that own vehicles, another important time is the end of the financial year, which also coincides with the expiration of the car tax. This explains why you will see an increase in the number of cars that go through Japanese auto auctions in the spring each year, as companies unload their old cars before this deadline.

Killer Reason Two: Low Mileage and Good Condition

If you ask someone who has never been to Japan what they imagine it will be like, they will often mention Zen temples, mountains, or rock gardens. Very “The Last Samurai”, but not the reality of everyday life for most Japanese. The fact is that the vast majority of the population lives in the concrete jungle of large urban centers. Large metropolises such as Tokyo, Osaka or Nagoya are where the population is concentrated. That’s right, these are urban driving environments with traffic lights every few meters, where a trip of a few kilometers can easily take more than half an hour.

What does this tell you about cars in Japan? Simple! Usually they have not gone very far, and where they have been, it has not been at great speed. In fact, based on my experiences, the average Japanese car will have spent most of its working life idling with red lights.

Second-hand cars in Japan not only have lower mileage than their counterparts, but they have also received better maintenance. To some extent, the cars here are still a status symbol. People who buy a new car make sure to stay in that condition for as long as possible, passing on the benefits of full maintenance to whoever gets that car next.

The Third Killer Reason To Get Used Cars From Japan: Fuel Economy

There was a time in the early 90’s when a barrel of black gold could be yours for just $ 10. That’s right, ten bucks! Don’t you think it was a long time ago? In truth, it was a different world. A world ruled by giant SUVs and pickup trucks. And yet, it was in this world at this time that Japanese companies like Toyota and Honda started working on the hybrid technologies that are all the rage now.

Why were Japanese automakers so ahead of the game with this hybrid technology? Why were they pouring millions into developing these new ideas when the other big players indulged their customers’ demands for increasingly thirsty vehicles?

One big reason is geographic: Japan has almost no natural resources. It depends one hundred percent on foreign oil. Not only did the forward-thinking Japanese automakers realize that black things would one day cease to exist, they also realized that in order to win big sales in their dependent domestic market, they would have to make sure their cars were fuel efficient.

Of course, if you know anything about the car market in Japan, you know that for years there has also been a class of vehicles called Kei (pronounced “kay”, meaning “light”). Cars that have a maximum capacity of 660cc. Japanese Las Automotive companies have vast experience in making these light, compact, and highly fuel-efficient vehicles. The same technologies as light-duty vehicles with small, efficient engines can be applied across the entire vehicle spectrum. This is another reason why that the Japanese are ahead of the game now. So what you find is that when it comes to fuel efficiency, the cars in the forefront are Japanese.

And what does that mean to you? Well, the cars that your customers want right now, cars that drink, don’t swallow, are ready and available right now in Japan.

Whiz-Bang ending

So there you have it friends. Three important reasons why the cars you want for your used car sales business are waiting for you in Japan right now. Offer them to your customers and they will not only buy them, but they will also thank you.

But wait a minute! Houston, we have a problem: the cars are in Japan … and you are not. And you don’t speak Japanese. How can you square this circle? What you need is a partner, but how can you find one? Well, if this is you and you would like to know more, please contact me directly at, and I’ll be happy to get started.

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