LHD Cars in the Japanese Car Auctions

Japan is a right hand drive (RHD) country along with the UK and countries that used to be in the British Empire. However, in Japan there is a certain status associated with LHD (left hand drive) cars – probably because it accentuates their foreignness, making them seem more exotic . Although there are far more RHD cars in car auctions in Japan, there are still a good number of LHD cars available. Here we will look at what kinds of LHD cars you can expect to find in Japanese car auctions, and how you can quickly find LHD vehicles to bid on.

Two rules of thumb for LHD cars

First of all, there are two good rules of thumb when it comes to LHD cars.

Rule 1: LHD cars are almost always foreign-manufactured

If you are looking for LHD Toyotas, Nissans, Hondas and Mazdas, you probably want to try the US auto auctions. That is not to say that there are absolutely no LHD cars by Japanese makers in the car auctions in Japan. However, these are usually imported into Japan from the US, and can be quite pricey due to their rarity in Japan.

The LHD cars you will find in good numbers in Japan are from non-Japanese manufacturers, such as Mercedes, Ford, Ferrari and other brands. You will even find good numbers of LHD cars from British brands, such as Jaguar – even though the UK is an RHD country like Japan.

Rule 2: The more expensive the foreign car, the more likely it is to be LHD

Check out the lower levels of the model range and you will find mainly RHD cars. However, as price increases, cars made outside Japan are more and more likely to be left hand drive.

To give you a concrete example, a VW Golf is almost certainly going to be RHD, whereas at the other end of the spectrum Lamborghinis are all LHD. Then, in the middle range – such as the BMW 5 Series – you will find a mixture of LHD and RHD cars.

Finding LHD cars at car auctions in Japan

Unfortunately, it is not as easy to do this as it should be. The reason is that not all of the car auctions in Japan include LHD / RHD information in their data. Obviously, our server can only figure out which is which if it has this data to hand — and it cannot read the auction inspection report, nor can it understand photos.

So how can you find LHD cars to bid on?

Some auctions have interior photos, so these cars are very obviously LHD or RHD and you can tell right away.

Other car auctions will only have exterior photos. Even with these, it is usually not a problem to spot which side the wheel is on.

LHD car in Japanese car auction

Very occasionally you may find that there are cars that are not marked as LHD or RHD, and yet you also may not be able to see the position of the steering wheel clearly in their photos either. This could simply be due to the angle of the windscreen causing a reflection just where you would expect to see the steering wheel.

You won’t be able to figure out whether these cars are LHD or RHD right away, but don’t give up hope! The Japanese notes about the car will clearly state whether it is LHD or RHD, even if you cannot see the steering wheel in the photos. Integrity Exports provides a professional-quality translation service for customers which will ensure you know which side the steering wheel is on before you bid on the car – so there is no risk of getting caught out.

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