Hiace Wagon, ESC (VSC) present in models: TRH229W TRH224W 2016 and vans from December 2017

A big impact on importing into New Zealand with the new ESC (electronic stability control) rules, is the impact of vans going to New Zealand.  Now with the rules covering used vans going from Japan to New Zealand, when searching for a van in the used car auctions in Japan, you need to know what has ESC (often listed as VSC in vans) and what does not.

Firstly, Hiace wagons and commuters had a change to ESC (VSC) in 2016.  Don’t waste your time searching for anything older than that.

Secondly, Hiace vans had a change over to ESC (VSC) from December 2017.

The Japanese article explaining the details here.







ESC rule, the day of reckoning for New Zealand imports

Well the day is nearly upon us!  March 1st 2020.

ESC defined as:   “Electronic stability control (ESC), also referred to as electronic stability program (ESP) or dynamic stability control (DSC), is a computerized technology that improves a vehicle’s stability by detecting and reducing loss of traction (skidding). … Some ESC systems also reduce engine power until control is regained.”

Automobile Association of NZ’s report

Also the ministry of transport has pitched in it’s views and recommendations

and the VTNZ announcement

So the day has come upon us.  The key phrase in this announcement:

all other used class MA, MB and NA light passenger and goods vehicles inspected at the border from 1 March 2020.”

 First of all: “inspected at the border”, what does this mean?

Border inspection for vehicles going into NZ occurs at the ports in Japan.  Once the car is IN the yard, even if not inspected, it is considered border checked.  So any non-ESC equipped vehicles must be in the yard by February the 28th. To safely purchase from local auctions and allowing transportation to the yard, consider the “cut-off” date to be February 17th for non-ESC equipped vehicles.

Exemptions?  The following categories of vehicles are exempt from these new ESC rules into New Zealand:

…. low volume schemes, “immigrant vehicles” (privately owned and used overseas), 20 year old vehicles, special interest vehicles….

All other vehicles must have some form of electronic stability control if imported into New Zealand.  The problem:  not all recently sold new vehicles sold in Japan were sold with ESC, ESC being a maker option.  ESC is NOT stated on the auction sheets.  ESC is not stated on the de-reg. documents.  Some models always have ESC, some models they are an option, some models don’t have ESC.

I will follow up this blog with a gradual list of vehicles that DO and DO NOT have ESC.  But until then it is “buyer beware”.  Here at Provide Cars we consider ourselves “the buyer” for the “buyers”, so we always check on the existence of ESC on a vehicle before bidding.

The Worst Car Ever?

Wanna know which car is considered to be the biggest pile of crap?  The 1978 Cadillac Deville.  It came out a year after I was born so I don’t remember much about the existence of this car but I hear that this pile of crap gives you a whopping 6 miles to the gallon.  In a time when the U.S. was going through a gas crisis this car only added to people’s headaches.  Story has it that you were able to get this car for only a couple of hundred bucks a few years after it came out.  So it looks like there are a lot of cons but what are the pros of this car?  Well, I hear you could fit a lot of people in it and it offered a lot of horse power.  But beside that it was just a big car that ate a lot of your hard earned money.

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I had to add one more crap car for you.  I present to you the Ford Pinto.  This bomb on wheels was a death trap.  Why?  Well, when the Pinto got rear-ended it tended to go up in flames.  According to a report Ford did 40 tests and every time it crashed the fuel tank ruptured.  Ford knew about this but put it out on the market anyway.  So, why did Ford put the car out on the market knowing it had problems?  Because, Ford knew that if they did not put out a new sub-compact car in their 1971 line up the Japanese and Germans were going to take over the US market in the sub-compact arena.  Are you telling me that Ford picked quantity over quality?  Nooooo!  Yes, they did!  Some might say, “You get what you pay for.”  There’s some truth to that but in the case of the Pinto I would have to say don’t drive this piece of crap of a car.  I don’t care if you know how to do crazy stunts like Johnny Knoxville don’t do it!

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Well, boys and girls.  I hope you learned a great lesson today.  Buy safe and reliable cars only.  But what if I can’t afford a brand new car?  You can always get a nice used car from the Japanese auto auction.  Cars in Japan are inspected every two years and a lot of these cars are well maintained.  Plus many of these cars have great safety features to keep you and your loved ones safe.  A third of cars sold at these auctions are shipped across the sea to foreign countries.  I’m sure Provide Cars Ltd can help you get one so tell your mommy’ and daddy’s about them.  Remember, Japanese auto auctions are one of the best places to get a Toyota Prius, Estima and other Japanese cars.  Remember that you can get a nice European or American car too.

Other ways to “RENT” a car

Sleep, eat and sing.  These are all things you can do in a car.

Times Car Share is a popular car rental option with over 230,000 registered users.  My good friend Finn, his real name is Yukio, uses the service quite often.  For many individuals that do not own a car in Japan Times Car Share is a cheap and excellent option to get from point A to point B.  But the company found itself scratching their heads.  Despite people renting the car they found no mileage put on the cars.  Why?  After investigating they found out that lot of their users were using the car to eat lunch, sleep, think and practice singing among other things.  During the hot summers some users would just sit in the car with the A/C on to cool off while they gulped down a drink or ate a meal.  Others found the car to be a nice private location to catch some Z’s.  For others it was the best option to work on their vocal chords in the safety of a car in a random parking lot where there is little to no traffic.  Don’t forget that it’s a great place to meditate on your thoughts too.

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The company has expressed that their rental cars are to be used to go places and not to be used as a hotel.  Now, I know that it’s not good for the engine or the environment to sit in one location.  But you gotta give it to those who figured out another use for these rent-a-cars.  Maybe Times Car Share could hire people to drive the customers around while they eat, rest, meditate or sing a few tunes.  After a survey they figured out that one out of eight people used cars for purposes other than transportation.  Maybe they need to go into Times Space Share?  I mean if people are willing to sit in a seat and pay 400 yen for 30 minutes why not create a similar small space with sound proof windows?  Don’t forget to create that new car smell because that’s what makes sitting in a car worth it.  Right?


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1956 GMC Pickup Truck

「1955 GMC truck modify」の画像検索結果

Oh my stars and chicken gizzards!  Who would have thought that I would find a 1956 GMC  Pickup Truck at the Japanese auto auction?  Man!  I don’t think I have seen one my whole life in the U.S.  for over 20 years.  You gotta wonder who owns this truck in Japan and why considering the roads a very small in certain areas.  Was this a car imported right after the second World War?  Or was it imported by an American truck junky?  The only information I have on the truck is that it’s located in Nagoya, Japan and it’s being auctioned at one of the auction houses there.  The condition looks great inside and out.  Take a look.  Right now these trucks are selling near 20,000 USD.  The starting bid on this one is at around 8200 USD.

front photo of car  - 2014 Gmc GMC PICKUP - green-2tone  back photo of car  - 2014 Gmc GMC PICKUP - green-2tone interior photo of car  - 2014 Gmc GMC PICKUP - green-2tone

It’s always great to see a vehicle as close to it’s original condition.  But every now and then you see a truck that has been modified to where certain features just pops out at ya!  Classic truck enthusiasts all over the world

「1955 GMC truck modify」の画像検索結果 「1956 GMC Suburban Pickup Truck shortbed」の画像検索結果

「1955 GMC truck modify」の画像検索結果

If Hotwheels, the toy company, is making classic trucks to put in their line up you know that these trucks will continue to have it’s place in the future despite hybrids and EVs coming into the market.  Sure you can get these trucks in the good ol’ US of A but don’t forget that these beloved trucks are also cherished in other countries like Japan.  Sometimes good things must come to an end though.  When that happens I would implore you to search for a classic truck at the Japanese auto auction.  Every good truck deserves a good home and a great owner that will continue to share the legacy of the American classic trucks.  If you are looking for a classic truck get a hold of us at [email protected]  One of our agents will be happy to walk you through the steps to bid, buy and have the truck shipped to the port of your choice.  You can also reach us at +81 798 75 1451.


I flew across the pond to the United States this summer for a couple of weeks.  It was a busy trip as I met with new clients and shared about the Japanese auto auctions.  Most businesses that buy cars from Japan are located on the coasts.  But I was surprised with how many people were into Japanese Domestic Market cars in the Midwest part of the U.S.  It didn’t take much to get people to sign up.  I always thought the Midwest was an untapped market in the United States.  But after this trip I have a feeling it won’t be too long till people will start seeing JDM cars driving in the Heartland of America.

Time flew by as I drove through six different states, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska.  It was about a 1500 mile drive.  It’s amazing to see how the landscape changes as you drive state to state.  It was refreshing to drive on wide open roads where you can see the horizon.  Big trucks, big flags, and wide open spaces everywhere.  One might consider it to be boring to drive a total of 24 hours but it was just the right therapy I needed after a long busy year in Japan.

After a long drive I got hungry.  I went to a restaurant called Steak and Lube.  It was entertaining to see all the cars and motorcycles while I had some buffalo wings.  Hey, maybe we will see a Skyline GT-R hanging from the ceiling one day?

Before flying back to Japan my one wish was to have a nice juicy steak at Texas Road House restaurant.

Despite the long drives and hectic schedule it was nice to see my beloved friends and family.  But sometimes good things must come to an end.  It was time to fly back to Japan and get back to work.  We have customers that are depending on us to deliver cars all over the world and the Japanese auto auctions are not going to wait!

Goodbye Estima for now….

The Estima has been one of the go to mini-vans in Japan and other countries.  It’s been a reliable vehicle to haul family, friends and cargo for years.  When the Estima came out in 1990 it wasn’t exactly a huge hit.  When it was introduced in the US there were complaints that a V6 engine could not be installed for those who wanted more power.  In Europe people said that it was too expensive to utilize it as a mini-bus.  After 10 years in the year 2000 Toyota decided to use the Camry platform with a front engine, front wheel drive design.  This gave Toyota the ability to put a V6 engine in it.  The Estima finally earned it’s respect and became a huge hit.  By the way, it was given the nick name “Genius Egg.”

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Despite it’s success Toyota has decided to stop production of the Estima this September of 2019.  This is just a rumor but there are talks that the name “Estima” will be resurrected when Toyota comes out with an EV Mini-van in a few years.  I am a huge fan of the Estima and own one right now.  My plan is to get another Estima for our next family vehicle.  If you are looking for an Estima look no further.  Provide Cars Ltd. can help you get one and ship it to your choice of port.  The Japanese auto auction has hundreds of Estimas on auction.  If you are in the market sign up for a free trial account at www.providecars.co.jp.

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