Car auctions in Japan are a great way for car importers around the world to source good quality, low mileage cars and other used vehicles at great prices.
However, in order to make the most of the opportunities these Japanese car auctions give you as a car dealer, you have to make sure that you understand the car inspection reports. As a well-informed buyer, you can make sure you sift out the gold and avoid costly mistakes.
In this article, we will look together at who makes these auction inspection reports and what you can find in them.
If you are at at serious about buying cars from car auctions in Japan, you need to read on.
Quick Primer: What are these Japanese Car Auctions?
There are about 86 different auction locations in Japan. A typical day will see anything from about 7,000 to over 40,000 used cars and other vehicles sold at these auctions all around the country.
A good Japanese car exporter will give his customers access to all these auctions through an online system. You may be a continent or two away from Japan, and yet sit down in front of your computer and tap right into this huge selection of RHD and LHD cars right away.
Enter a bid at the click of a mouse, and let the car exporter in Japan handle the rest. A few weeks later the car will be arriving at the port for you to pick up.
Used Car Inspections at Japanese Car Auctions
Car auctions in Japan employ seasoned mechanics to inspect all the vehicles they sell. These inspectors work on site in the case of most auctions, or off site at car dealerships in the exceptional case of Aucnet.
The auction inspection covers every aspect of the car, from mechanical areas and chassis, to the exterior and interior condition. The car auction inspectors are thorough in their approach, with the only caveats being that they do not drive the car at any more than parking lot speeds, and obviously they cannot dismantle the vehicle to check out really hard-to-reach places.
The Auction Inspector’s Report
The car auction inspector write his notes on the o-kushon hyo (auction sheet). He will use a combination of scoring systems, written descriptions and a diagram of the exterior to give readers a good idea of the condition of the used car.
Overall Auction Grade
Car auctions in Japan assign an overall grade to each of the cars entered in the weekly auction.
I do not recommend that you rely solely on this grade when you consider whether to enter a bid or not. You will need to check the other detailed information that the inspector has written on the auction sheet as well.
(A good Japanese car exporter will be able to give you a professional translation of these details.)
That said, the overall auction grade has a role to play in helping you narrow down the field of potential bidding candidates. Here is a quick summary of the different grades:
Grades 7, 8, 9 or S – These refer to brand new cars with only delivery mileage.
Grade 6 – This grade can sometimes be equivalent to the grades above, but cars with this auction grade will usually have a little more than just delivery mileage.
Grade 5 – These are vehicles in superb condition, very close to brand new standard, but with several thousand kilometers on the odometer.
Grade 4.5 – A car in excellent condition, but with up to a few tens of thousands of kilometers on the clock.
Grade 4 – A good, solid car usually having less than 100,000 km on the clock.
Grade 3.5 – A higher mileage vehicle or one which will need some work to clean up.