To save thousands of dollars on Australian domestic values for Japanese made vehicles!
Not to mention being a proud owner of a high performance sports machine. Reading below should bring into perspective the reasons why this importing market exists and is thriving all over Australia. To start to understand the cost structure we must first look at why there are high depreciation percentages on Japanese vehicle values.
Japan has a fast moving economy with a constant race to have the latest technology implemented in all aspects of society. New motor vehicles are introduced every four years in Japan. This with the combination of fierce competition among vehicle dealers and low interest rates of around 6% total interest on finance loans, makes owning a new vehicle in Japan an easy task, its keeping it over the years that is a costly process.
All new vehicles are sold with the infamous ‘Shaken’. The Shaken includes compulsory insurance, a weight tax (the heavier the vehicle the higher the tax), and a mandatory roadworthy test (basically it's a very strict over the pits test and your vehicle is not approved until everything they pick is fixed). If you have bought a new vehicle the Shaken is renewable every 3, 5, 7 & 9 years.
The Shaken is just one on road cost associated with owning a vehicle in Japan. There is also a Parking fee, high insurance premiums, high annual road tax, high servicing costs (due to the expensive costs of labour, parts, rent and advertising) and high road tolls, plus the inflated price of petrol.
‘The Shaken’ - 140,000 - 275,000 yen ($2000 - $4000, $300 dollars more if a garage handles the renewal on your behalf) depending on what needs fixed on the vehicle.
Parking Fee - 10,000 - 69,000 yen per month ($150 - $1000 depending on the area).
Insurance Premiums - start from around 10,000 yen ($150) per month.
Annual Road Tax - starts from around 40,000 - 70,000 yen ($600 - $1000) depending on what kind of vehicle you own.
Basically in Australian dollars it could cost you around $10,000 per year to keep your vehicle on the road in Japan. Expensive isn't it? And why have an outdated vehicle when it would probably cost more to keep than it is actually worth. This combination of cost and economics saturates the used vehicle market in Japan and pushes the value of vehicles on a steep decline. See the points below for an insight into the depreciation rates.
3-year-old vehicles - are worth 50% of their original market value.
5-year-old vehicles - are worth 30% of their original market value.
7-year-old vehicles - are worth a mere 16% of their original market value.
Due to these depreciation rates an area where you can really save the dollars is on modified vehicles. Some vehicles can have up to $30,000 worth of after market add-ons and only increase the total sale price of the vehicle by $2000 in some cases.
The Japanese market is indeed structured very different to our own. Income for vehicle dealers is derived more from the processing of paper work and the servicing of vehicles. Emphasis is not placed on making money from a marked up sale price of a vehicle, as the market is too competitive.
So now the cost structure has been explained, what about the condition or quality of the vehicle? Well the Shaken helps maintain a high standard, as it is very strict. vehicles are not passed until everything is tested and fixed (one of the tests even includes exhaust emissions).
Private vehicle sales do not exist in Japan, as all vehicles legally must pass back through the hands of the dealer before they are sold to the next owner. This fact coupled with the original dealer generally handling all of the vehicles servicing, you can rest assured the vehicle will be maintained to a high standard.
Japanese vehicles are also known to have very low mileage. Expensive road tolls, congested motorways, plus a great public transport system (The well known Shinkansen or 'Bullet Train') lead to these vehicles having a lot less wear and tear compared to the average Australian vehicle. It would be rare to see a vehicle that has done more than 10,000km per year.
On top of all this Japanese vehicles come with higher specification interiors. Our Holden Calais, pretty much have the interior of a standard Japanese vehicle (i.e. airbags, climate control, power steering, mirrors and windows, stereo system etc).
Why wouldn’t you import?