Why buy from Kuruma Trader?

Unlike most of the export companies in Japan, we do not focus on selling a high volume of cars, we believe in quality, not quantity. At Kuruma Trader we can source any type of car. Our main focus is on high performance, modern classic, German “youngtimer”, Japanese modified and almost new family cars.

We offer a premium level of service which includes personal auction inspections, translations, native English communication, online help, market price analysis and full auction access to all of our clients.

We provide the information our clients need to make an educated decision.

Why buy from Japan?

In general, used cars have much lower mileage compared to cars abroad of a similar age. Many Japanese car owners only use their cars on the weekend as Japan has a famously reliable and punctual public transport system. That together with overcrowded roads and parking at a premium make driving to work rare.

There is also a very strict and expensive car inspection test and people do not really sell used cars privately instead preferring to trade in for newer models.

This is why it is possible to find so many used cars that have low mileage and that are in great condition for sale in Japan.

What does the terms F.O.B., C&F and RO/RO mean?

See the glossary of terms section here.

What do I have to do to buy a car?

Our How To Buy page explains the steps required. Anyone who is a dealer or an individual buyer can purchase from us. It is your responsibility to check your country’s regulations before purchase.

What payment methods do you accept?

  • Traditional transfer to our bank account.
  • Pay in Cash at our office ;).
  • PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay.
  • Credit / Debit Cards.
  • BLIK.
  • Crypto.

Where do you buy your cars from?

We secure vehicles from all major auction houses and reputable dealers from all across Japan.

When and where are the auctions?

There are a number of auctions every day of the week except for Sunday, over 120 in total across Japan.
Click here to see our auction map.

How can I see the cars on offer?

Please join our online auction system to gain access to all of the auctions.
Click here to get auction access.

What does the information on the auction sheet mean?

Please use our in-depth guide:

  • Click here for information on auction sheets and vehicle grading.
  • Click here to see an example auction sheet.
  • Click here to see our advanced auction tools.

Please note that a full translation of all handwritten Japanese points is only available once you have opened an account.

How will you ship my vehicle?

Your vehicle(s) will be shipped via container or by RO/RO vessel. This is determined by your destination, the number of vehicles purchased and cost. All of this will be discussed by you beforehand.

How long does shipping take to my country?

This depends on the shipping schedule. We will always ship your car on the earliest available vessel. It usually takes 2 to 4 months. Please contact us for estimated shipping times.

How do I know if a vehicle is eligible for my country?

Although we have a good understanding of import rules for most countries it is ultimately up to you do to determine if a vehicle is eligible. Your domestic government website will provide you with up-to-date import rules, tax and duty.

How much is shipping?

Shipping is determined by the cubic meter (m3) of a vehicle and will vary based upon the vehicle you desire to purchase and your destination.


Do you charge for an unsuccessful bid?

No, we do not charge for this. (unlimited bids)

Do you charge for vehicle inspections?

The cost of the inspection is determined individually. It starts at €150 at the USS Tokyo, Nagoya and Yokohama auctions.

How long does it take for a car to be auctioned?

The auction process is fully automated and swift. It probably takes about 5-15 seconds in total for a car to be auctioned on average.

What documents will I receive after I buy a vehicle?

After your vehicle has been shipped we will provide the following to you:

– Bill of Lading
– Export certificate
– Invoice

Other documents pertaining to your country.

What kind of maintenance is required for my vehicle once it arrives?

We generally advise that our clients purchase high-grade cars in order to limit any risk. It is impossible to determine exactly when maintenance has been performed to the vehicles unless paperwork is included. Some cars will come with dealer books and service history. We recommend a full-service and thorough inspection prior to use once it arrives.

Do I get a choice in which vehicle you purchase for me?

Absolutely, the choice is totally yours. We just provide you with all possible information so you can decide.

What is the price negotiation system?

When a car does not sell during the live auction we can enter into a negotiation scenario. It is important to move fast if you want to negotiate on a car because often the first buyer wins! Keep reading for a better understanding.

When a car does not meet the seller’s minimum ‘reserve’ price, then it is usually possible to ‘negotiate’ with the buyer, via the auction house. In this situation, there will be an unsold result which is the highest price any buyer has bid at (more about bidding scenarios) and there is a ‘start price for negation’ which is the minimum amount that a buyer can make an offer at. It is not possible to make an offer below tis start price.

The start price for negotiation is not the seller’s minimum or reserve price, and it very often has no relationship to the reserve. We have sold cars before and the negotiate start price has nothing to do with the reserve that we submitted, so in order to get an idea on what the sellers minimum price is, the buyer needs to make an offer, which cannot be withdrawn. The seller can do one of three things; a) either accept the offer, b) state his absolute minimum, or c) state what amount he is hoping for in. In the last scenario, the buyer can either state their final and maximum amount, which the seller will either accept or reject or the buyer can state an amount closer to what the seller was hoping for. If this process went to this stage, the buyer would usually state his final minimum price or accept the buyers increased offer. The auction house manages this to make the process as fast an efficient as possible.

The negotiation process is managed slightly differently between auction houses regarding who gets the first right to negotiate. For example, at some auctions, the person who submitted the highest bid has a certain time limit (10 minutes) after the auction to enter into negotiation and will then have the first right to negotiate. At some auctions, the person in the auction hall may have preference over remote bidders.  At USS Nagoya and USS Okayama, the person who submits the highest negotiation offer has the first right to negotiate. Depending on how unique a car is and the estimated demand may determine what offer you would submit.  At other auction houses, you can submit a negotiation offer at the start price or above the start price, it makes no difference because preference is based on the order of the queue and not the amount submitted. Quite often, when we negotiate on cars we never have a chance to negotiate because another buyer has got in front of us, so it’s important to move fast to have a good chance.

According to the auction rules there are time limits to enter into negotiation and for most auctions this is 1 hr after the auction time, however in our experience if the auction is still open and a car is unsold they will accept offers until about 1 hr before their close time (3:30pm or 4:30 pm for most auctions).

Occasionally, we do see the start price for negotiation start price change and increase. For example, if the first bidder has gone through the negotiation process and failed to agree on a price, then the auction house may increase the negotiation start prices to what the seller is wanting as their minimum (This would eventuate after scenario b above).

A few other considerations to note; when a car is sold via negotiation the result is not made publicly available; the auction house charges a higher fee to buy a car via negotiation (usually 10,000 yen) and we would pass this onto customers.

Finally, we should view unsold results with perspective and consider the possibility for the seller to manipulate this amount. Hypothetically, a seller could have another auction member friend bid to just under their reserve price in order to keep unsold results high. Many years ago we sold a “brand new” car (15 km and the current model) and at the same time, there were about 10 other new cars of the same make and model as the one we were selling. Presumably, the dealers were dumping new stock on the auction market to fulfil their order quantities from the factory. We wanted about 3.1 million yen for the car, set a start price of 2 million yen and had a reserve of about 2.9 million yen. At the end of the day, almost every other car was unsold about 2.8 million yen, just under what would have been everyone’s reserve price. Our car had an unsold bid of about 2.1 million yen which made it look substantially worse off than other similar cars who had much higher unsold results. In recent times the USS auctions have restricted the release of unsold results, and this may be one reason why – they can easily be manipulated.  So keep this in mind, when considering unsold results.

Have any Questions? Call Today!
+48 666 222 510