Japan’s Car Auctions: A Beginner’s Guide

The car auctions in Japan are the ocean of value, quality and choice from which Integrity Exports sources cars for our customers around the globe. Over 7 million used cars pass through these auctions every year (actually in 2008 it was over 8 million) at an average rate of tens of thousands per day.  And these are cars in much better condition with lower mileage than equivalent cars overseas

This is the ocean of quality and quantity where you get to fish and hook the best cars for great value for money.

Some of these auctions are huge operations. A prime example is USS Tokyo, where you can often see well over 10,000 vehicles on a Thursday. Others are smaller with just a few hundred cars. 120 used car auctions of varying size and location give our customers the biggest net possible to catch the best deals.

So you think you may be interested in getting your cars from Japan? Even this page will give you information that puts you ahead of 99.9% of car buyers. And if you really dig into this website, you will get a crash course that will have you overtaking even seasoned car importers.

But before you do that. Wouldn’t you like to see these auctions live for yourself? If a picture is worth a thousand words, think how much you can learn by getting free online access to our password-protected auction database?

Click here and in just 60 seconds
you will be looking at cars in
Japan’s car auctions.

(It won’t cost you anything – it’s free – so you can start looking for
that dream car you have always wanted right away.)

Who can buy at car auctions in Japan?

In order to buy from a car auction in Japan, the first thing you need is to be a member of that auction. This usually means being a registered business in Japan as well as having property as collateral, and then on top of that you need a property-owning Japanese citizen as a guarantor. So this is where Japanese car dealers and Japanese car exporters buy at wholesale prices.

As a registered Japanese company, Integrity Exports has this access. And so do you when you bid through us.

The auction inspection process

The cars and other vehicles are registered for the following week’s auction, after which they are inspected by inspectors who are qualified mechanics.

The inspector writes his report on an auction sheet. He gives the car an overall grading as well as a grading of the interior quality. He also writes details of issues that he has found. Some comments he writes in Japanese, and then issues like scratches and dents that relate to the car’s exterior condition, he writes on the “car map”.

We don’t expect our customers to read Japanese. If you are buying through us, we will give you a full translation of the auction sheets of the cars you are interested in. We want to make sure you make an informed decision when you place your bid.

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Bidding in the Japanese car auctions

Remember, only members of the auctions like us can actually bid. They can do so in two ways: Either at the auction location itself, or online from anywhere. The computer bidding system is the same whether you are bidding at the auction house on one of their machines or online from your office.

As a result, we bid remotely for the simple reason that on any given day we are bidding at auctions all over Japan and so it is not possible (or necessary) to be physically present.

Our customers place “proxy bids” in our online car auction system. This is how the process goes:

  1. The customer searches for cars he is interested in.
  2. He enters proxy bids.
  3. We give translations of the auction inspection reports.
  4. Sometimes we answer additional questions if the customer has any.
  5. The customer enters his max bid as a raw auction price or as an FOB (car + all Japan-side costs) price.

Actual bidding is very fast. Generally a car will be sold in anything from 10 to 45 seconds or so. It may just look like pressing a button in a video game, but there is a real art to doing it right to avoid overpaying for a car – or equally letting it get away by holding back too much. We have years of experience bidding for literally thousands of cars, so we make sure our customers get the best deals withing their budgets.

Sometimes we have to go right up to the limit of the customer’s budget to win the vehicle, whereas on other occasions when bidding competition is less fierce, we may be able to get it for considerably less. Whatever the outcome, our customers can always rely on our unique double guarantee:

Bidding outcomes

There are a number of possible outcomes beyond the simple bought / not bought possibilities:

  • Bought by us in live bidding– This is the best outcome for us and our customers
  • Bought by another in live bidding – If our customer’s budget does not stretch far enough and another bidder wins the vehicle.
  • Passed – This means that the car failed to meet its reserve. It may be back the following week, or it may be sold in Negotiation.
  • Negotiation – A car that has passed may still be within our customer’s budget, so we immediately make an offer for the vehicle through the auction to the owner directly. We may end up buying it in negotiation.
  • Removed – Sometimes a car may be removed due to incomplete documentation or if it has been sold by other means prior to the auction starting.

What happens next?

Once we have a car for you, all you need to do is pay for it and get ready for it to arrive.

You see, we handle all the Japan-side export work, get a portfolio of photos taken for you, and get it booked on a ship without you needing to do a thing!

Want to get started bidding and buying?

It’s a very simple process to get signed up. Just three steps, in fact. So why don’t you click here to take your first steps to truly stress-free importing from Japan?

Become an expert: Learn more below …

You’ll find more useful details covering every aspect of the car auctions, from grades, to car maps and even right down to tire tread! Choose a topic and click to learn.

(We want you to really understand how it all works to make your buying experience with us as stress-free and smooth as possible.)