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Thoughts on Japanese imports?

Hi all,

I’m currently in the market for a used car and it’s my understanding that the Irish market is being flooded by cars imported from Japan as it’s cheaper to import from there than the UK. By that I mean ‘Grey’ imports so Japanese versions of BMW, Audi etc.

Would you recommend buying one or steer well clear? Even though they have low mileage I’m concerned over spare parts and unexpected anomalies due to the cars being specced for the Japanese market. What are your thoughts please?

Martin Smith (Dublin)

Mar 2022 Filed under: importing

Expert answer

Hi Martin,

I wouldn't say the market is being flooded with these cars - demand is still far outstripping supply. 

For the most part, these cars represent good value, but go into the deal with your eyes open. If at all possible, get someone in the know to take a detailed look around the car you're looking at, to make sure it's in good condition and that it's identical to a European-market model. 

I'd insist that the car was serviced on Irish soil before taking delivery, and make sure the tyres are ok as well, as these cars could have spent quite a bit of time at sea and at docks here in Japan.

Other than that, check out your insurance before you commit to buying, as insurers can be a little odd about imports at times. 

Shane O' Donoghue - Complete Car Advisor

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