Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Importing my Japanese sports car...Step 1: Buy the car

As some readers of this blog may know - I have been looking to get a sports car for years.  I finally decided to stop talking and do something about it.  After looking for a while and trying to work out what I actually wanted to buy I settled on buying a Nissan Skyline...the only problem being that I had to buy an import from Japan.

I could either buy one that had already been imported by someone else (and run the risk that the clock had been wound back) or I could import one myself (and go through all the hassles that that entails).  In the end I decided to import the car myself and I appointed an import broker to help me through the process (you can see that post here).

Finding the car was much more involved than I first imagined

I had originally planned to let my import broker do all the work.  He could scour the lists of cars coming up for auction and then could contact me when one met my requirements, give me a price estimate and a history of the car along with the results of any tests and the whole process would be easy.

However I got much more involved than I previously intended to be

I love cars and I couldn't help myself - every day I would scour the auction lists on the import brokers website looking for any car that could meet my requirements.  After a while I started to get bored and started to loosen my requirements - I was looking at older cars that didn't have the specifications I wanted in colours I was previously not interested in.

I also started to get a better idea of what specific cars would sell for - after a while I was pretty confident that I could estimate how much a particular car could go for given it's specifications and after taking a look at the pictures.

I found several cars...but they needed to pass muster first...

This is where having an import broker really started to pay dividends.  I found several cars that met my requirements and I would get my import broker to send along a guy to test the car and give a report back (along with photos) of what he found.  Some of them turned out to be duds mechanically while another had a smokers smell (which is something you would never see in pictures)

...and then I came across one which I thought may just be the one

After a few weeks of absolutely nothing and as
Christmas closed in I finally came across a car that I thought may be perfect.  It was the right colour (black), the right year, the right number of kilometres so I asked my import broker to check it out.

I received an email with about 50 photos showing every single defect the car had.  All of them were physical (scratches mostly) but the car was mechanically perfect. The car had no smokers smell and was actually a model up from what I originally thought it was.

I instructed my broker to make a bid for the car up to a certain price...

The price I gave the broker was actually more than I had originally budgeted.  I really really wanted this car.  The broker warned me that this was a popular car and I might get blown out of the water.  However I knew my prices...I had done my research...I was sure that this car would be mine.

If I can recommend something for all those looking to buy a car at an auction - know your prices.  Sometimes a car will go for far more than it is worth simply because there are 2 people there who have no idea what they should be paying for the car.  There are always more cars coming up for auction - the research I did beforehand was invaluable.

I gave the broker my bid and waited...and waited.  Finally at the end of the day I got a text saying I had won the auction...for less than I had originally budgeted.  I was ecstatic.  I had finally bought my sports car!

And so the waiting game began

The Japanese car auction market virtually shuts down around Christmas.  Nothing happens and nothing gets processed.  It was one of the most frustrating experiences.  I was so excited about the car...and I couldn't even pay for it!

Next time I'll outline the drawn out process for actually importing a car once you have bought it.  It is far more painful than I could have possibly imagined.

No comments:

Post a Comment