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.

Compare … the Japan car auctions to New Zealand sales prices

Apologies to other countries, this post is aimed at New Zealand buyers.

Today a Nissan Note, 2014, (grade 4.5 you can not get much better than that) with 56,000 kms sold in the Japan car auctions for 400,000 yen. That equates to a landed price in New Zealand of $10,104. Now compare that with what is on sale in New Zealand for the same year. $13,990 with 66,000 kms and $14,990 with 54,000 kms. Hmm, I would consider this Nissan note sold in the Japan car auctions today to be most similar to the second of the two. That is a savings of over $4,500.

See photos below:


BMW M3 Sport Evolution 1994 in the Japan car auctions

Left hand drive BMW M3 Sport Evolution 1994 in the Japan car auctions today.  Excellent grade 4 condition with only 46K kms on the clock.  Started at 2.5 million yen and finally sold for over 10 million yen in the Japan car auctions today.  Why invest in the stock market or gold?  Grade 4 with a C interior (some wear and surface seat burns).  Not sure whether this would have sold to the local market or export market.



Prius Alpha new in the Japan car auction, HUGE savings

Are you looking to buy a new car?  Toyota Prius Alpha 7 seating perhaps?  Take a look at the drop in price of a brand new car that has done 7 kms.  Sold in the Japan car auctions today.



This sold for 2.080 million.  It was made 2 months ago and has done 7 kms.  It’s new!

From the Toyota dealer, if you order a Prius Alpha 7 seater model S this is the base price you pay:



2.829 million yen.  That is a saving of over 800,000 yen!  Don’t buy from a Toyota car dealer, buy from the Japan car auctions and save huge sums.

Many new Toyota Prius in the auctions

The auctions are full of near new and brand new cars, especially the very common Toyota Prius.

Look at this one, it has done only 18 kms:



It passed in the auction at 1,845,000

One of these new costs 2,479,000.  Feel sorry for the Toyota branch that was selling it!



2015 Toyota Alphard model on sale in the auctions

It is not just older vehicles sold in the auctions.  As with the Toyota Alphard 2016 shown above, there are many new and near-new cars and trucks sold in the auctions each day.The car above is a 2016 Alphard with 1881 kms on the clock, probably a dealer’s show car.

The grades vary in price (see below picture), but this one is 3rd to the top of the most expensive, being the non-hybrid executive lounge.  The most expensive being the Hybrid 2.5L executive lounge 4WD at 7 million yen.  A bit too much for your budget?  You can choose the base version:  the 2.5 X  for 3.19 million instead.



Toyota landcruiser new on sale in the auctions

Not everything sold in the auctions is used.  Take a look at this Toyota landcruiser on sale in the auctions today.  It has 4 kms on the clock.  The only thing it does not have is a stereo, which is standard for new-used cars sold in the auctions.   The price of this brand new from a dealer starts from 5.13 million yen.