Direct Imports

Akagi Auto car exporting cars since 1997. Japan, USA, UK.


The process here is the same if you want to buy a car for use in Japan or for immediate export. Furthermore, the costs involved with transport to you and the costs of preparing a car for export are usually almost the same.

Most vehicles we source in Japan are bought at auction. Auctions in Japan should not be compared to those of other countries, they are professional, highly modernized and well organized affairs. Prior to auction, cars are evaluated by the auction staff and graded. This report is the basis of the warranty from the auction house and cars that are shown to vary from their described condition within a week of purchase will be repaired at the sellers expense and the auction house overseas the claim process. Auction grades do vary substantially from auction to auction and even between different sections of the same auction sometimes so we encourage clients not to get too stuck on a particular auction grade but rather consider their actual requirements and let us do the heavy lifting.

Once we have an order from a customer this is distributed to our auction buyers, upon arrival at the auction our buyer will inspect the reports for suitable cars and then inspect the vehicles physically himself. Once satisfied that the car meets the standards expected by the customer he will bid for the car.

Prior to this we will need a specification from the customer, this can be as detailed as you require. For example, a customer may require a 2004-2005 Nissan Elgrand with no other specifications, in this case we would guarantee being able to source the car within a couple of days. Other customers with more specific requirements may have to wait slightly longer for the perfect car to come up within their budget, but with around 20,000 cars coming up for sale at the auctions we attend every week, it should never take too long.

Once a specification has been decided and we have quoted an expected price range for the vehicle we require a deposit from the customer after which we will distribute the spec to our buyers. The balance is payable prior to export, we can handle import customs and registration in the UK / US of you wish for an additional charge. Some customers worry that buying at auction is risky, we understand this concern and we are happy to guide you through the whole process at a speed that suits you.

Buying direct from Japan has a number of advantages over buying a pre-imported car. Firstly you can specify your exact spec, importers such as ourselves tend to import only cars with fairly generic spec as expensive options in Japan tend not to be recognised in overseas sale prices. You can also save some money by importing direct as we do not have to take stock risk and tie up our capital for months while the vehicle is in transit. The drawbacks if importing direct is that it will take time. For a readily available car we typically estimate 3 months from order to registration in the UK or US.

So in summary, why import direct?

  • You can have a car that meets your exact specification, be that mileage, age, options, colour etc.
  • You can save some money as we do not have to tie up our capital
  • You can be the first registered keeper of you new car in the UK
  • We can carry our modifications or repairs in Japan to JDM specifications with JDM parts as you require.

And the next question would be, why import through Akagi Auto?

  • We have been doing this since 1997, we have a wealth of experience, there really is not much we have not done before
  • We have people both in the UK and Japan and we speak the language we will not just show you an auction sheet in Japanese and expect you to figure out what is written there!
  • All cars we purchase in Japan (unless by prior arrangement) come to our workshop in Japan, this does cost a few pounds in extra transport in Japan (typically 30-75) but allows us to check the cars again properly and rectify anything that needs rectifying either through a claim against the auction or by using parts sourced in Japan which will usually be much cheaper than sourcing in the UK
  • We are a UK limited company, your deposit is send here not to some overseas account
  • We can handle UK registration (should you choose) so you have a turn-key solution if you do not fancy handling the UK registration yourself
  • We do not forget our customers, if you need something from us in a week, month or in a decade just pick up the phone or send us a mail and we will be happy to help whether it is sourcing a new piece of plastic trim for your Figaro or a new engine for a classic skyline we can sort it out.

Why is all this important, well form the last week alone I have 2 very good examples:

On one of the forums we are a member of a chap (claiming the be an import export) was recommending someone to buy a car form an online seller in Japan. What no one had noticed was that the car had been clocked, this was in fact clear to the “trained” eye and the poor potential buyer would have only realised when it arrived in the UK and a higher mileage was noted on the export certificate (which would have been the case as the Japanese strictly monitor mileage readings in their home market)

Another example is a Nissan Skyline that we were due to buy this week. The auction sheet stated that the engine idle was unstable when cold. Our view was that this could have been an air flow sensor, plugs / plug leads or any one of many simple and cheap solutions. At the auction our buyer started the car (Japanese auctions are members only and you are free to open up the cars, start them and check the various electrics prior to bidding) and noticed a metal noise form the engine and blue smoke from the exhaust, the repair cost for the car would have made it uneconomic so we declined to bid. At the en

d of the auction the car was being loaded onto a transporter for the port so some poor chap who bought without having the car inspected will soon be looking to import and engine or be facing a very expensive repair bill as this was a very old R32 GTR.

To handle the UK side we charge a fixed fee which includes the items below (or you can collect form the port yourself and we can guide you through the import / registration process):


  • Transport to us from the port of Southampton (included)
  • MOT preparation and supply / fit fog lamp (included)
  • MOT test (included)
  • Registration fee (included)
  • Number plates - supply and fit (included)

Not included:

  • Car tax (1 month as this will be refunded to us once we change the ownership to you - unless you prepare a short term insurance policy on the chassis number which we can use) Tax band will be PLG which is cheap
  • Any remedial work required for the MOT although this is rare as the cars are prepared by ourselves and also checked prior to departure in Japan

Akagi Auto car exporting cars since 1997. Japan, USA, UK.