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Overall Auction Grade
Each car at auction is given an overall quality grading by the auction inspectors. Before we get into the details of these different grades, there are three things that need to be emphasized about these overall grades:
- These are subjective with different inspectors and different auctions more or less strict.
- The details the inspector writes about the car are much more important
- These are broad categories covering a range of levels of quality
Put simply, a grade 3.5 at one auction may not be as good as a grade 3.5 at another auction, but may be better than the same grade at a third auction. So anyone who tells you they have a great grade 4 you should bid on is not giving you the whole story.
At Integrity Exports, we think the overall auction grade is useful for one thing and one thing only, and that is to narrow down the number of vehicles you will consider bidding on: Rather than trying to bid on all 247 Corollas, it means you just consider the 56 grade 4 Corollas. It is a tool to cut through the thousands of vehicles available in the car auctions in Japan to quickly find the ones you will be interested in bidding for.
With that said, let’s look at the different overall auction grades and what they mean about the overall condition of the car:
Grades 7, 8, 9 or S – These refer to a brand new car with only delivery mileage. (Video here)
Grade 6 – This grade can sometimes be equivalent to the grades above, but sometimes will have a little more than just delivery mileage. (Video here)
Grade 5 – A vehicle in superb condition, very close to brand new standard, but with several thousand kilometers on the odometer. (Video here)
Grade 4.5 – A vehicle in excellent condition, but with up to a few tens of thousands of kilometers on the clock. (Video here)
Grade 4 – A good, solid vehicle usually having less than 100,000 km on the clock. (Video here)
Grade 3.5 – A higher mileage vehicle or one which will need some work to clean up. (Video here)
Grade 3 – Either a very high mileage vehicle or one which is rough. (Video here)
Grade 2 – A very rough vehicle usually with corrosion holes triggering this low grade. (Video here)
Grade 1 – Usually a heavily modified vehicle which has had a different engine or transmission fitted, or which has an aftermarket turbo charger. Other possibilities are flood or fire extinguisher damage. (Video here)
Grade R, RA, A and 0 (zero) – These are vehicles that have had some degree of accident repairs. At one end of the spectrum the repairs will be a single panel replaced due a minor parking ding, whereas at the other extreme there are vehicles that must have rolled in an accident which have had almost every panel replaced. (Video here)
Ungraded vehicles (***) – These are sold as-is by the auction with no or almost no information about their condition. As such they are very risky and can result in escalating additional costs if they cannot drive or move. (Video here)
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