How to Buy

Buying a pre-owned car from Japan is not as complex as you may think. At EFJ, we simplify the Japanese car auction experience so you can get the keys to your dream car in no time! Here’s what to expect.

Tell Us About Your Dream Car

Contact us and tell us about your dream car so we can find it for you.
Our website provides our top picks from Japanese car auctions, but it only represents a fraction of the cars available. We encourage clients to contact us to tell us about their specifications and preferences, so we can find them their dream car. The Japanese pre-owned vehicle market is booming, so we’ve never had difficulty finding cars to suit even the most discerning tastes. Our team use vehicle sale records to estimate the time it will take us to find a car that meets your specifications so you know how long to expect. 

While we’re looking, we will keep in touch with you via WhatsApp, phone, or email, depending on your preferences.

Contract and Deposit

Before we start looking, we will ask you to sign a contract and pay a refundable deposit of $2,000 or 10% of the car’s value, whichever is the greater amount. This deposit signifies that you are as serious about buying a pre-owned vehicle as we are about finding your dream car. We can then move forward with confidence, searching Japanese car auction sheets and compiling options for you. 

The deposit is either refunded if we are unable to secure the car to suit your needs within your ideal timeframe, or it can be used towards the cost of your vehicle.


Once we find a suitable option, we will contact you with information about the car and a translated car auction sheet with the vehicle’s history and inspection report. Japanese car inspectors provide comprehensive reports, so this Japanese car auction sheet translation informs your maximum bid amount. If you require additional information or photos of the vehicle before bidding, we can contact the auction house to arrange those on your behalf.

If you are interested in a vehicle, tell us your maximum bid. We will bid on the pre-owned car on your behalf up to that maximum bid amount and use the deposit to secure it for you.


Once we have successfully purchased your dream car, we will arrange full payment and vehicle transfer on your behalf. We will ask you to provide the following:

  • Your full name
  • Contact details
  • Address
  • Port of delivery

At this time, we will also send you the invoice with details for the bank transfer. The auction houses use the VIN number to match payments with the vehicle and require the full balance within 3 working days. Once the payment is received, the vehicle is registered under your name. We will send you photos again once your vehicle reaches the port and will mail the original export certificate, deregistration certificate and Bill of Landing (BL) once they are ready.

There are 3 incoterms you can choose from depending on your needs. In all cases, we will organize port delivery and export documents.

  • FOB – The client takes over once the vehicle is delivered to the port. This means you organize shipping, insurance, and the import process.
  • CIF – We organize the shipping process and insure the vehicle until it reaches the port of delivery.
  • CF – We organize the shipping process but do not insure the vehicle.

We will quote the charges involved in your preferred option when we discuss suitable vehicles before bidding. The import documents and customs regulations are your responsibility; we can put you in touch with a broker if you need one. Please check your country’s import regulations prior to bidding on a pre-owned vehicle.

The shipping timeline is set by the transportation provider, but typically your pre-owned vehicle will depart Japan within 10 days and 21 days.

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Fees and Service Charges

When we find a suitable car, we will provide you with an accurate list of the fees and service charges, as they can vary. The following estimates will help you budget for buying a pre-owned vehicle in a Japanese car auction.

  • Auction house fee ¥24,000 ~ ¥40,000
  • Deregistration fee ¥10,000
  • Radiation Inspection fee ¥3000
  • Insurance fee (optional)
  • Domestic inland transportation: ¥8,000 ~ ¥120,000 for regular sized vehicles.
  • Export shipping charge: ¥25,000 ~ ¥45,000
  • Ocean Freight: Variable cost. Please ask for a quote.
  • Additional, pre-bidding USS photo service, ¥2,000 for 3 areas and ¥4,000 for 6 areas
  • Additional storage over 30 or 45 days is charged per day at a rate of 700-900 yen depending on the port yard and vehicle size.
  • Import customs clearance, duties, taxes, compliance and registration etc. *(paid in import country)

In addition to these fees, we charge a commission of ¥70,000 to cover our services. This commission includes:

  • Japanese car auction sheet and inspection report translations
  • Real-time support via email, phone, or WhatsApp
  • Finding and bidding on suitable vehicles
  • Pictures upon delivery to the port
  • Inland transportation organization
  • Export certificate creation, translation, and mailing
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Which Countries Can You Export Cars to From Japan?

US's Import regulations

Motor vehicles over 25 years old can be lawfully imported into the United States. You can export your vehicle to the United States to the closest port in:

New York


Los Angeles


We Import RHD Cars to:

  • Canada – through the ports in Halifax, Toronto, or Vancouver
  • Germany
  • Great Britain
  • Poland
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Estonia
  • Northern Cyprus
  • Finland
  • Sweden
  • Caribbean islands
  • Saint Martin
  • Australia
  • New Zealand

We use JEVIC Inspection for the additional inspections that some countries require to verify the vehicle’s condition and mileage.  

South Africa and  Kenya

If you are importing a pre-owned vehicle from Japan, Kenya and South Africa have some additional requirements. They both require additional inspections, and Kenya prohibits importing vehicles that are more than 8 years old. We have a representative in Africa who can arrange all customs and registration procedures.

Other Countries

Each country has different used car import regulations. We recommend you check any restrictions and customs duties before placing an order. 

If you have any questions about the process of buying a pre-owned car from EFJ, please contact us. Our team of experts is available to walk you through the process of buying your dream car.

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