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    What is an import?
    Much has been written, and said, about so-called imports, but what does it all mean?

    Japanese car manufacturers such as Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Mazda and Mitsubishi produce cars for sale to Japanese buyers, and in the same factories they produce cars for the UK market. In the UK they sell their cars through their own network of sealers. "Imports" are cars which have been used on Japanese roads, and which we have then bought second-hand from the auctions, or car dealers, or private buyers in Japan, and shipped to Europe for our British buyers - like you.
    So there's nothing mysterious about it. Actually, if you think about it, all Japanese cars that come to the UK are imports, even the new ones.


    Why should you buy an import?
    Quite frankly - to save money. And also to get a better quality car with lower mileage, higher specification, and bodywork that is in undeniably superior condition.

    Has VAT and Duty been paid on all of your cars?
    The VAT and Duties are paid on all vehicles at the port of entry before delivery to our premises. Before we can register them the Local Vehicle Registration office HM Customs forms have to be presented to the registration office.

    Can you guarantee the vehicle has not been stolen in Japan?
    Yes. Japan has joined the INTERPOL scheme which means that before registration the Local Vehicle Registration office contact Interpol who check the vehicle status in Japan. If it shows up as stolen it will not be registered. The only stolen vehicles that we are aware of came via Dubai. EVERY vehicle we import comes direct from Japan - not via Dubai.

    What about the car being speed restricted?
    Japanese cars are restricted to a top speed of 180 km/h (112.5 mph). However, wealready convert the speedo and for a very reasonable charge we can de-restrict the top speed.


    Does the radio work?
    Normally no - but we can fix it before you get the car with a clever device we get from New Zealand (where the imported cars have been going for years). It takes a short while to fit, and although the radio display won't be accurate, you can get nearly all the UK stations. Just use the presets, and the jobs done for you. These are top quality units which you can purchase for a nominal fee.



    Do so-called imports conform to the same standards of safety as those manufactured in the UK?
    All imported vehicles under 3 years old now go through an SVA (Single Vehicle Approval) to make sure they confirm to UK standards. This includes seeing if it has a fog light, MPH speedo, etc, and they check things like seat belt anchorages, glass, etc. The tyre markings are now recognised too. Over 3 years they very easily pass the MOT test - plus some other test we perform make sure everything is as it should be.


    About Parallel Import Japanese Cars Generally...
    Japan drives on the left, just like the UK, so of course cars in Japan are all right hand drive. All our cars are offered registered in the UK with 12 months MOT, EU customs duty and VAT paid. Used cars are bought at auction, or from dealers or private individuals, new cars are bought from local dealers in Japan with whom we have negotiated very special discounts. Various importers are now offering MX5 cars (and other Japanese cars) imported from Japan second hand. In the case of MX5's one should bear in mind that all MX5's are made in the same place, Hiroshima. Some cars were imported new to the UK by the Mazda Company itself, and subsequently spent their road lives in the UK being driven by British drivers, those are the so called British cars. Others were originally sold new in Japan, spent their road lives in Japan with Japanese drivers at the wheel, and have now been imported as used vehicles - these are the so-called "Import cars". Although this is a misnomer since all Mazda cars are imported from Japan at some stage! Actually, after initially being made in Japan, the "Import Car" has arrived at the same final stage, being ready to drive in the UK. The only difference is that it has come on our ship, not theirs. The same is true of the Toyotas, Nissans, Hondas and Mitsubishis we offer you.

    Such parallel import cars have several advantages over vehicles that have been in England from new. The advantages are:

    CONDITION, and 2) EQUIPMENT
    1) CONDITION: second hand Japanese cars are virtually all low mileage, certainly by British standards, and the mileage can be relied on. It would actually be pretty hard to find a car in Japan that had done 12000 miles per year - the British average. One rarely sees a vehicle with more than 60,000 km (37,500 miles) on the clock. Japanese cars have almost certainly never been driven hard - even MX5's with performance accessories such as spoilers, air dams and skirts were certainly prepared by their proud Japanese owners for show, rather than being thrashed. Japanese road conditions and traffic habits just make fast driving impractical. Japanese drivers generally keep their cars immaculate and well serviced. Before any dealer in Japan exposes and car for sales (private sales are quite unusual) he makes sure it can pass the Japanese MOT (known as "SHAKEN", pronounced shakken) which is very severe and he has to be ready to support the car, since consumer protection is fierce.

    Accordingly, the buyer doesn't even have the be concerned about mechanical condition (certainly not when he buys are car from us, because we only buy the very best condition); a car which would be considered "fair" condition in England would be considered junk in Japan, and no trader would try to sell it to the public. To do so would only give him grief. Japanese people don't like anything even remotely shabby. They never drive cars even half way into the ground.


    2) EQUIPMENT: Cars in Japan always have air conditioning, and usually have all the extras available - which indeed are mostly treated as virtual standard equipment. (Any exception to this is leather seats - few Japanese cars have leather seats, in the case of MX5's only so called V specials). Mazda don't sell in Japan the toned down versions of the MX5 that are available in the UK. Another example, also Mazda, is that in Japan, the MX5's all went from 1600cc to 1800cc in September 1993, and thereafter 1600 cc versions were not available. And Mazda certainly don't sell MX5's with pressed steel wheels or manual windows. If you drove one of those in Japan quite frankly you would be laughed off the road!


    Do you have to be concerned about cars made for the Japanese Market, and those orginally made for Europe?
    We don't think so. we have not come across any gotchas yet.


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