What are the pros and cons of buying from the Japan car auctions compared with buying from a dealers or exporters stock?

First of all, the advantages of buying from a dealers stock.

  1. The car is there before your eyes, or to be more precise, it’s photo are and you can see them.
  2. The price is fixed.  There is no need to calculate a bidding figure.  Often also the car is sold as FOB, so there is no need to calculate the commission as well.
  3. There are usually more pictures than available on the auction’s homepages.
  4. For vans, (Hiace vans etc), the number of seats are very clear.  For trucks, the detailed specs of the truck can be checked before purchase.

Disadvantages of buying from a dealers stock.

  1. No dealer is going to give you a 100% honest explanation of the vehicle, it will be bias.  It doesn’t matter how nice the dealer is, he is going to be biased towards this vehicle.  His stock is always “good” stock, even if it was a grade 3 or a grade R when purchased from the auctions.
  2. Unlike an auction, there is no “independent” appraisal of the vehicle, you’ve got to take the dealers word.
  3. Often the used car exporters, especially if they are not Japanese, do not have an ability to read the auction sheet of the car they purchased, and then do not know the faults written about the car from the auction.  Even if the can read, they don’t usually mention them.
  4. Price.  Perhaps the most important factor.  For a dealer to buy a car and sell it in stock.  It is a risk.  A larger risk than purchasing in the auctions on order.  There is a possibility that the car will not sell from his stock, he doesn’t want that. Higher risk must be equal to higher returns.  The dealer / exporter needs to add value, not just commission to make this extra risk worth while.  That is why a dealer`s / exporter`s stock is more expensive than buying directly from the auctions.  Often this adds up to $100s even $1000s of dollars difference between buying from the auctions or buying from stock.  Have a look at the link below as an example:

Comparing auction prices to selling stock on a homepage.