How to Import Cars From Japan

by Thomas King

There are several reasons you may want to import a car from Japan. The selection of cars may be greater, the price may be cheaper and you may want to be the first one in your country to drive the car. You can import a car from Japan with minimal hassle.

Importing A Car From Japan

Research the customs policies of the country you are bringing the car into. Countries have various restrictions for importing vehicles. In the United States, all imported cars must conform to the Motor Vehicle Safety Act, the Motor Vehicle Information and Cost Savings Act, and to the air pollution control standards of the Clean Air Act. Moreover, most countries require additional documentation to clear customs. For example, the United States requires the original bill of lading, the bill of sale and foreign registration.

Find an exporter in Japan. Not all dealerships in Japan export their vehicles.

Be prepared to pay a duty when your vehicle arrives. Most countries charge a fee for imported vehicles. In the United States, the dutiable rate as of 2009 was 2.5 percent for automobiles and 25 percent for trucks. These rates can change, so it is best to check with your customs office before importing your car.

Register your car and buy car insurance when it arrives. Bear in mind that it is not unusual for insurance companies to charge extra for cars imported from Japan. Often, this amounts to three times what you would normally pay.

About the Author

Thomas King is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law where he served as managing editor of the "Pittsburgh Journal of Environmental and Public Health Law." He currently lives in Aberdeen, Washington where he writes and practices law.