Hello and welcome back to part #2 of my blog!
If you haven’t read Part I, please do so!
Note that the following post is my own personal opinion and is not sponsored in anyway by Japancardirect.com.
Before that, a quick update on the progress of my purchase! Good news - it left port last week and is on its way to the U.S.A! I have been tracking it each day (so an animated GIF will be most definitely happening)! The car is scheduled to arrive around the third week of September. The small bummer is that the dealership we purchased the car from didn’t replace the headliner (time was short), but they did provide all the material, so I will have something to do once the car arrives :).
In this post, I’m not going to go so much into prices or cars yet. Rather, I would like to begin with the different options available for purchase, and why I chose JCD.
If you know Japanese, and want to have all the fun in learning the importing process, the cheapest way to get a car is most likely to do it all yourself. There are many negatives to this, such as time consumption, access to Japanese dealership network, and just the confusion of understanding U.S import laws. Also, unless you can travel to Japan, you don’t have someone to vouch on the quality of the vehicle for you. Since I don’t know Japanese, and I don’t have the time/patience to explore this option, it wasn’t for me, and I assume not for the majority of people.
There are many JDM import dealers in the U.S.A that fully import vehicles into the U.S, so there is nothing complicated to do from the purchaser’s end. You just purchase it very similarly to you going to any car dealership to purchase a new car.
Some examples I looked at initially were:
I have nothing negative or positive to say about these sites, since I did not interact directly with them. I do believe Japanese Classics is well known!
The negative of buying directly from an import dealer is the prices are usually higher since there is a middle-man involved. You are also limited to purchasing a vehicle from their inventory.
The option I selected was going the middle route - I’m not doing the entire import process myself, but I’m not also buying from a U.S based dealer.
Instead, I worked with Japan Car Direct directly to import the specific vehicle I wanted, at the specific price I wanted, and had a hand in the entire process. It definitely gives a more personal vibe to it!
Why Japan Car Direct? I have been working with them for 4 months now, I have a few reasons as to why they are simply the best, and why its the best option.
The first reason I initially went with Japan Car Direct is due to their website professionalism. If you head to the “FAQ” and “How To Buy” sections, they have all the answers you could possibly ask for.
They detail everything from the auction process, to listing their prices on their website! As a result, you know well in advanced what you are heading into. There were other import websites I looked at, but the prices were a bit vague or they didn’t really outline fees (such as shipping).
They also have blog posts and different sections about the different types of vehicles you can purchase. I spent hours just on their website, and learned a lot about different vehicles in Japan. For example, here is a section on Japanese Kei Trucks
If you register to their website, JCD gives you access to the Japanese auction house.
Let me tell you - this gets addicting REAL fast. There are so many cars to look through and of varying qualities. On the JCD website, they provide a quick translation of the auction sheets so you can decrpyt the auction sheet. Everyday, the auction house is updated so I was quickly spending each day looking at what new cars arrived.
By having access to the auction house, you can tell JCD what car you want to bid on exactly! They can also do things such as get a second inspection of the car. A negative of the auction house is that while the cars do get inspected thoroughly and have a report, the auctions come and go so quickly, you are taking a slight risk. The positive is that the auction prices are very low!
Japan Car Direct has a certified Japanese Used Vehicle License. On their website, after you join, you can view cars for sales at dealerships, very similar to looking at cars.com or autotrader.com .
The car I was looking for is extremely rare, and we spent about 2 months waiting for one to show up at auction. Looking at the auction history, we saw one hadn’t been sold there for a long time.
As a result, I ended up buying my car through a dealership. While not as cheap as going through auction, you do get a better feel of the quality of the car. JCD was able to ask the dealership all of my questions, and they even negotiated a much lower price than it was listing for.
Dealing with something you can’t see in person is super scary, especially considering you are sending a potentially large amount of money. Part of my research to making sure JCD was legit involved me Google searching them for reviews, the majority of which were very positive. They have a large Facebook presence, showing off pictures of each vehicle they ship out. In addition, they are going to be featured very shortly on Japanese TV!
JCD has a huge international presence. They have a Poland site where they have been importing insane cars such as the 1990 Mercedes 190E 2.5-16 Evolution II. They do a lot of business in Europe, along with having representatives in Latin America and Africa.
In addition to selling cars, JCD will also get parts for you! This is important for me since the car I am getting is over 25 years old, something is bound to go wrong, so having them help me find parts will make fixing the car a lot easier! They have already started looking for some [original] parts I have requested =).
I saved the best for last! The #1 reason why I went with JCD is due to their customer service. Mathew and Scott are very professional, courteous, and just awesome people overall.
If you know me, I am super duper picky. This being my first time doing a big project like this, I was super paranoid and probably drove them crazy with all of my questions.
I looked through my e-mail history, and over 4 months of interaction with them, we sent about 100 e-mails!!!
What I enjoyed most about the entire process is how courteous the two are. For example, they never pressured me to purchase a particular car, or steer me towards a certain vehicle. Instead, they let me pick what car I wanted (or car type), and they would forward me new vehicles when they came across them. Sometimes, I wouldn’t like the car for the color, or something silly such as the wheels. Instead of telling me to just get the car, they moved on and kept searching. In the end, they found me the car I wanted!
They are super fast in their responses. Each e-mail was responded to in a day, and it got to the point where we were Skype calling each other for fun. For example, they called me directly via Skype to discuss my questions I was sending to the dealership (because I sent them a list of like 100 questions). They found some youtube video clips of the car I was purchasing, which was cool since they are hard to come by. Overall, they are gear heads and you can tell that from their passion and hard work ethics.
Mathew and Scott are both Americans living in Japan, and speak fluent Japanese (Mat studied Japanese in college!). They have multiple, flexible payment systems, such as accepting Paypal and doing bank transfers.
As I stated at the beginning, this post is not sponsored by JCD, and this is all what I have experienced. In the next posts, I hope to have more fun and talk about my exciting experience in the purchasing process, like the mess I had to deal with my bank to transfer the funds!
Thank you, and as always, feel free to ask any questions!!