Do I have a favourate Japanese car auction house? If buying a car for myself does a certain auction house give me more confidence when buying? If so why.
The answers to the above are yes and yes, and the title of this blog answers which auction house it is as well.
Why then choose the TAA auction auction houses then? First impressions perhaps.
Back in the day when there were no online lists of cars, in fact there was no “online” (pre-internet days), you would turn up at an auction, check in with your ID and grab the list for the day from the front desk of the auction. 2 books: one book in order of the cars selling and one for cars separated out into chassis type. You would find a seat somewhere and do a search for the chassis types of cars you are looking for and get their auction number and position physically in the auction. Then you would march out and check the cars, in the order of those selling first to those selling last. You had to balance your checking of the cars with the bidding itself, occasionally arriving too late to bid on the car! If you had a team, one person would be the delegated bidder and the other would phone in the bid price after checking with the customer by phone as well as checking the car. International telephone calls were a major expense! It was a rush and often “minor” points written on the auction sheets were overlooked. After purchasing, those “minor” points would sometimes become majors! This was the used car auction export “lifestyle”. Spare time was spent chatting with the other exporters and their customers, usually from New Zealand but occasionally from Ireland and the UK as well. The only “auction” you had to deal with each day were the ones in your city or prefecture. You never even thought about other auction houses in Japan. Your little auction world was where car availability started and ended.
What has this got to do with the TAA auctions?
Well I when cars don’t sell at one auction, often they are moved onto the next. So you would recognize the same cars a few days after checking a car out. I would notice big grade differences between the auctions. TAA would give a car a grade 3 while the same car a few days later would get a grade 4 at a different auction.
Secondly the auction sheets at TAA were all typed. I’m fairly confident in my ability to read auction sheets but sometimes handwritten Japanese is messy and hard to read. Are you confident in reading an english doctors prescription? You would be if it was typed out!
So the grading system was stricter, auction sheets typed out AND you got a free lunch! Yes, the maker auctions (Nissan, Toyota, Honda etc) would all give you a free lunch while the non-maker auctions would make you pay for your own. And at these maker auctions they still do: they give you a free lunch! Wow! Yum. I hope you like Japanese food (just as good if not better than their cars!).
So that was the past, how about in this modern internet, API app, online auction world? Are they still any better? Yes, they are. While the average USS auction may give you a “massive” (blurry) 4 photos and an auction sheet, if you are lucky, TAA will give you up to 13 photos AND photos underneath to allow you to check for rust.
And bidding? While USS auctions will charge you 1000 yen for after hour registered bids, all registered bids in TAA are free.
So now you know why TAA are my favourate auction houses and I just realize now while writing this that I bought my last 2 private cars for personal use from USS auctions! Ahh!