Importing a Car from Japan to Ireland? Help Guide

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Steps Involved in Importing a Car from Japan to Ireland.

1. Find the car you want:

Generally cars in Japan are significantly cheaper than in Ireland. Without boring you with the details of why. The short answer is there is a strict version of the NCT (which can cost up to €2000 to complete) on cars over 3 years and many other restrictions meaning that cars depreciate in Japan at a rapid rate and generally cars cover relatively low mileage.

You can typically purchase a Japanese vehicle in two ways. You can purchase the vehicle online just like you would buy anything else online or you can purchase the vehicle from an Japanese export car auction where you bid on the vehicles.

The vehicles condition is generally grade. so you should know the condition of the vehicle you are buying. The overall vehicle is graded, the exterior and interior are graded, and usually an image is included which identifies the location of any dents or scratches.

The overall vehicle is graded from from 1.0 to 6.0, with 6.0 indicating ‘as new’ condition and 1.0 indicating ‘very poor’ condition. R or RA identifies vehicles with a repair history from accident damage. In reality, condition ratings seen at auction generally range from 3.0 for cars that are pretty rough to 4.5 for something in immaculate condition. In addition to the overall grade the interior and exterior are grade from A to E, A being pristine condition, E being bad condition. The system of grading varies across Japan but the following tables provide a rough guide to the system used.

Overall Grading
Grade Description
6 Considered as brand new, less than 12 months old, and/or with under 10,000km.
5 As good as new, with exceptionally low mileage
4.5 Very slightly used, mileage of up to 100,000km
4 Used with the slightest visible flaws.
3.5 Good condition with visible flaws.
3 Average condition with light damages.
2 or 1 Poor condition with significant damages, but the car is functional.
R R stands for vehicles with repair history or major modification
RA minor accident cars that have been fully repaired.
Interior Grading
Grade Description
A New vehicle condition
B The car is in good condition, and the interior looks nice and tidy.
C Small food stains or cigarette holes could be found inside the car.
D Inner vehicle consists of cigarette marks, stains, tears, or smells.
E The Interior of the car is in bad condition. Grade E means all mentioned above and even worse.
Exterior Grading
Grade Description
A A pristine exterior condition
B Some small scratches up to 15cm could be found.
C Scratches up to 30 cm or dents could be seen.
D Visible scratches, rust, or corrosion are detected.
E The car is in bad shape. Rust, corrosion, and exterior breakdowns are plenty.

2. Estimate how much the car will cost:

There are 3 main costs associated with importing a vehicle from Japan:

  1. Vehicle Purchase Price
  2. Shipping Costs
  3. Import Taxes
Vehicle Purchase Price

When you purchase the vehicle, you will either purchase the vehicle FOB or CIF.

FOB means the vehicle will be delivered to the Japanese port but you need to pay for shipping separately.
CIF means shipping to Dublin Port is included in the purchase price.

Shipping Costs

As mentions above if the vehicle is FOB then you need to pay shipping separately. The vehicle can either be transported via RORO(Roll-on Roll-off) or a container. Shipping prices fluctuate, in general if you are only purchasing one vehicle RORO is the most convenient. If you are purchasing multiple vehicles you should consider a container as it may be more cost effective.

Import Taxes

When you import a vehicle from Japan there are 3 taxes you need to pay:

  • Customs Duty (usually 3.8% or 10%)
  • VAT (23%)
  • VRT (rate depends on vehicles emissions)

It is important to know the vehicle registration tax which will be charged on a vehicle prior to importing it to Ireland. On you can you can calculate the VRT on a Japanese import by simply providing the VIN/chassis number of the vehicle being imported.

3. Purchase the car:

4. Ship it to Ireland

Once you have purchased the vehicle and shipping has been arranged the vehicle with be shipped to Dublin port.

5. Clear the vehicle through Customs:

Once the vehicle arrives in Dublin, it is your responsibility to clear customs.

To clear customs you require a customs declaration you will require a customs agent to lodge the declaration for you. Once the declaration is complete and you have paid customs and VAT, the vehicle will be released and you can collect the vehicle. We can act as your customs agent and clear the vehicle through customs from you. For more info click on the link below.

6. Collect the vehicle at the port:

You will not be able to drive the vehicle on the road until its registered as it will not have any registration plates on it.

If the vehicle arrived via RORO, you will likely need to hire a tow company to collect the vehicle.

If the vehicle arrives in a container, you will need to hire a haulier to collect the container and remove the vehicle(s) from the container. This process is referred to as devanning.

7. Register the car:

Make an appointment to have your vehicle inspected at an NCT centre within 7 days of the vehicle entering the State in order to register and pay the VRT (and any other tax liabilities due on the vehicle)within 30 days of the vehicle entering the State .

8. Purchase and display new registration plates:

Once you have registered the vehicle, you can purchase your registration plates.

9. Pay your motor tax:

More information can be found here

Importing a Car from Japan to Ireland? Help Guide was last modified: January 19th, 2024 by vrtmanager

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