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 over €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.
The end result is there are many Japanese export car auctions which is typically where Japanese cars are sourced from.
The beauty about the auctions is all cars are graded. This ranges from 1.0 to 5.0, with 5.0 indicating ‘as new’ condition and 1.0 indicating ‘very poor’ condition. 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. The system of grading varies across Japan but the following table provides a rough guide to the system used. Often interior and exterior condition are graded separately, and sometimes an A, B, C, D system is used for interior grading, with ‘A’ being the best. Rated ‘0’ cars are those that have been accident damaged and repaired.
|5||As new, immaculate condition|
|4.5||Very minor paint blemish to one panel|
|4||Minor paint blemishes to two panels|
|3.5||One or two panels affected by paint blemishes, minor work required|
|3||Rough all round condition, some work required|
|2.5||Rough panels all round|
|2||Some serious paint blemishes|
|0||Accident damage and repair|
|C||Clean but with cigarette burn|
2. Estimate how much the car will cost:
You can estimate the VRT cost here
You can estimate the foreign exchange price here
3. Purchase the car:
You can do foreign exchange money transfer here
4. Ship it to Ireland or the UK:
Why you might ask would you ship the car to the UK? There are 2 possible reasons:
Firstly VAT on goods (including cars) is payable
at their entry point of the EU and the UK rate of VAT may be better than the rate in Ireland.
Secondly there is a large selection of agents based
in the UK that will provide an import service from Japan.
The car will then need to be transported to Ireland.
Do not register the car in the UK as it may be subjected
to an MOT and you may have to install an ugly fog light on the back
of the car.
5. Collect the car at the port:
When you collect the car in Dublin you need a number
of documents to collect the car. You also need to pay customs duty
In order to take delivery of your car, you’ll need
an original bill of lading document. This should have been sent
from Japan once the car leaves Japan. You will present this to the
company responsible for taking the car from the ship and parking
it in the port. From then on you are responsible for its security.
It’s probably a good idea to take out insurance with an agent for
piece of mind.
The car will be kept on the dock for customs to inspect
the car. You need an invoice showing the cost of the car and the
shipping costs and a de-registration certificate. You will then be
charged VAT and customs. Customs is charged at 10% of cost car +
shipping costs. VAT is charged at % of cost of car + shipping
+ customs. You have 7 days to complete these tasks, after that point
you will be charged to keep the car in the dock.
6. 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 .
7. Purchase and display new registration plates:
Once you have registered the car, you can purchase your registration plates online here