Toyota Prius hybrid imports from Japan to UK

Toyota Prius?  Yes, Japan is full of them, and so are the Japan auctions.

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There are soo many different types of Toyota Prius’ in the Japanese used car auctions nowadays that it is hard to keep up!  For example the Toyota Prius PHV (plug in) allows you to charge your battery like a typical EV car or run like a normal hybrid when your charge runs out.  It also runs with an option to use solar to charge your battery during the day.  Look at these photos:

However, in Japan this did not prove to be very popular, the earlier models would only go 35kms on a charge while the later models went 60kms.  The price was too high for a NEW car (not for a 2nd hand Prius sold in the auctions though!).

Here is a brief summary of the Prius family since it’s devue in 1997:

Generation Year from Chassis cc Fuel  10:15 mode kms/l JC08 mode kms/l
1 1997 NHW10 1500 28
2 2003-2009 NHW20 1500 35.5 29.6
3 2009-2015 ZVW30 1800 35.5 30.4
4 2015~ ZVW50 1800 37.2

(the 10:15 fuel mode was substituted out for the JC08 mode, similar to more realistic driving conditions in Japan)

And then in 2011 Toyota brought out the wagon version Prius, or the Prius α 

2011~2014 ZVW41W 1800 cc 26.2
2014.11 (slight change) ZVW41W 1800 cc 26.2

And of course the photos from above, the Prius PHV:

2017 ZVW52 1800 cc 37.2

All the Toyota Prius appear in large numbers in the Japanese used car auctions, as they were bought in vast numbers in the local market.

What advantage do the auctions have over similar Prius’s sold in the UK?

  • The depreciation curve in Japan is the steepest in the world.  It costs a lot of money to park and keep a car in Japan which lowers its 2nd hand value
  • Most families do not use a car for going to work in Japan, rather the train.  The family car is used for the weekend.  The annual average kms driven by a car in Japan is less than other countries.  Older vehicles with low kms are very common in the auctions.
  • Colour, kms and sheer numbers available in the auctions in Japan far exceeds what is available in the UK

So what do you need to know about importing a Prius from Japan to the UK?  First some shipping terms:

FOB is the price of the purchased vehicle from the auction and all other expenses before loading it onto a ship

CIF is the price of the FOB plus the cost of shipping and freight to the UK.

In the UK you must pay 10% tax on the CIF value of the car.  Next you must pay 20% VAT on the: (CIF+import duty+customs clearance fees)

If the car is more than 10 years old, you only need to do an MOT test (road worthiness test)

If the car is less than 10 years old, you need to do an MOT and an IVA  inspection.

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