JP to OZ American Autos
Frequently Asked Questions
Why are these vehicles exported from Japan and not straight from the USA?
Although it would make more sense to export new vehicles directly from the U.S., our vehicles are used, many of which are 30 years old or more. Based on our experience of living and working in both countries, when it comes to used vehicles, we are convinced there's no place in the world where finding them in excellent condition is as common as in Japan.
How are used vehicles in Japan usually of a higher quality?
Much of this is due to the Japanese attitude to vehicle ownership, which is viewed as more of a luxury than a necessity. As such, Japanese owners are generally very meticulous about caring for their vehicles, and as they are highly reluctant to ever attempt working on them, qualified mechanics are usually called on for even the most minor of issues. In addition to this, the country's strict shaken laws, a compulsory mechanical and structural inspection that ensures that all vehicles on the road are properly maintained and safe to drive, are undertaken every 1-2 years. The test must be carried out at an authorised service garage or at the Transport Bureau, and ensures that any vehicle literally must be at the point where it is mechanically sound and legally safe to drive to even be allowed on the road.
Why do the vehicles generally have lower mileage?
Generally speaking, they're driven much less. This is in part not only to Japan's excellent public transportation network, lessening the need for private vehicles when compared with the U.S. or Australia, but also the strict shaken laws, resulting in used vehicles with low mileage and detailed repair histories. Adding to this, left hand drive vehicles in Japan are rarer and considered somewhat prestigious, and so are often elevated to the status of a weekend ride to the shopping centre, ensuring even lower mileage and better condition despite their age. And despite their "cool factor" in Japan, there are still many roads and streets in urban and suburban areas which are narrow and almost impossible to negotiate with a large American vehicle, and as such are driven even less. It's not uncommon for vehicles to clock just a couple of thousand kilometres each year!
What are so many American vehicles doing in Japan in the first place?
Some vehicles were brought by serving members of the U.S. military, but the vast majority were imported by Japanese private collectors and specialist car dealers. While domestic car manufacturers are overwhelmingly the most popular choice among Japanese consumers, there was and still is a very passionate fanbase of American trucks and SUVs, who admire their toughness and simplicity just as much as we do!
Where do you find your vehicles?
We have mostly worked with specialist dealers and private collectors as the majority of our vehicles are considered on the rarer side in Japan. For more common models, we also have some wholesale suppliers, and also attend dealer-only vehicle auctions across the country.
Are the vehicles left or right-hand drive?
All vehicles are left-hand drive unless from the specified otherwise.
Can I register a left-hand drive vehicle in Australia?
Yes! Left Hand Drive (LHD) vehicles with a date of manufacture older than a certain number of years are eligible for full registration.
Queensland, New South Wales, ACT: 30 years
Victoria: 30 years, or 25 years with club membership
South Australia: 30 years with club membership
Western Australia: 15 years
Tasmania: 0 years (conditional registration)
Northern Territory: 0 years
For further information, please refer to your relevant state or territory's guidelines on registering your LHD vehicle.
NSW - https://www.nsw.gov.au/sites/default/files/2021-02/RMS-17.368-Registering-imported-vehicles-in-NSW-Vehicle-Standards-Information-No-4-August-2017.pdf
QLD - https://www.qld.gov.au/transport/registration/fees/concession/special-interest/eligible
VIC - https://www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/-/media/files/documents/safety-and-road-rules/vsi/vehicle-standards-information-18_v3_web_oct-2020.ashx
WA - https://www.transport.wa.gov.au/mediaFiles/licensing/lbu_vs_ib_106.pdf
SA - https://www.sa.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0014/23054/MR629-Left-Hand-Drive-vehicles-Jun2020-ver2.pdf
Will I have to make any modifications to my vehicle in order to meet my state's roadworthy eligibility criteria?
It depends on the vehicle, but most left-hand drive imports will need to have the headlights' dip-beam filaments changed from a left to a right-hand drive alignment.
How long will it take before I can drive my vehicle?
This depends on a number of factors, from the type of vehicle you are purchasing, to time spent in customs and compliance, to global shipping supply chains. In most cases, we'd recommend allowing 8-12 weeks from purchase to registration.
What is it like driving a left-hand drive vehicle in Australia? Is it safe?
Because we drive on the left, it may feel a bit strange at first, but most drivers report getting used to it within just 15-30 minutes on the road. On those first few drives, some drivers have a tendency to drift a bit too far to the right at the beginning, so it's important to be conscious of your position in your lane.
Are there also age or other restrictions on a right-hand drive vehicle?
There are no age restrictions on a RHD. However, as we generally focus on U.S.-built vehicles, the ones we have in stock (Ford Explorer, Chevy S-10 Blazer etc.) are from 1998 - 2005. Because they were made for RHD markets, the time spent in compliance will be less than with a LHD.
I don’t live in Australia. Can I still purchase a vehicle through you?
Yes, you can. As we are also based in Japan, we can ship your vehicle direct to you wherever you are in the world.
What steps are involved in the purchasing process?
Browse our selection of vehicles and find the vehicle that you are interested in.
Once you have decided on your purchase, provide us with information (Full name, address, Tel number) in order to receive an invoice for the car. This invoice will have information regarding payment terms, bank account details, and deadlines.
Take the invoice to your bank and make the payment as outlined in the invoice. Provide a copy of the payment (T/T copy) within 48 hours to secure your purchase.
Once payment is confirmed, we will send you a Purchase Confirmation, shipping information, and other details.
Once the car has been shipped, you will receive a Bill of Landing and other standard documents.
Once the car arrives at your port and clears customs it will be transported to the nearest compliance garage to ensure compliance with Australian Road Safety standards.
After the vehicle has been fitted with a compliance plate and registered, you can come and pick up your vehicle or we can arange to have it delivered to your door.
Why buy an older pickup truck or SUV when I can just get a brand new one for just a bit extra?
You probably already know the answer to that question, because you probably remember when pickups and SUVs weren't just a bunch of computers on four wheels. When they used simple, proven mechanics with fewer things to go wrong and didn't cost thousands of dollars to maintain. When they were solid, powerful and could take everything you had to throw at them. You probably know that you don't need a fancy computerised truck or SUV, and that you’re better off with a simpler vehicle that can get the job done, get you to where you need to go and were built to last.