Corona Virus and used car exports

Who would have thought that a virus would affect the price of a used car?

In a Asahi Shinbum (major Japanese newspaper) article, the price change of used vehicles in Japan has increased by 18.8%, from a year earlier. A USS auction representative told the reporter “Every model is in short supply”. People want to avoid other people, NOT use the train, so were looking to drive to work and other places.  Also contracts that were usually given up after a year were extended. 

Some of our buyers have experienced the same problem. Cars bought easily at a certain price in the past have gone UP in price.  Not the best news for buyers in the auctions at the moment.  However, due to the lack of new cars for sale in Japan, there is often no choice but to pay the market price, which means charging more at the country of arrival for the customer. 

USED CAR PRICES  HAVE GONE UP!  Oh dear. 

RORO shipping crunch time ..

For a year now the cost of container shipping from Japan has skyrocketed, as has world wide prices.  Luckily until now that hasn’t had as much of an impact on RORO shipping out of Japan.  However, finally luck has run out, and the knock on effect of the container shipping as well as a few other factors have now hit RORO shipping out of Japan.

Used car exporters who have specialized in container shipping have moved their stock over to RORO shipping.  Add to this increase in demand from expoters to use RORO over container shipping, port slow-downs due to Covid-19 reduced staff at ports, have reduced the speed at which ships can be processed at ports, which has reduced the total monthly turnover of these RORO ships.  All this has put huge pressure on RORO shipping to the point now the shipping yards are crammed full waiting for ever decreasing space on boats.  This is resulting in delays after purchase for exporting out of Japan.  We do not see a quick solution to this problem until the price of container shipping goes down.  

Auction grades and a grain of salt

But it was a grade 4, it shouldn’t look like that!  As humans we like to generalize, simplify and put everything into a box.  A grade 4 should be excellent whether bought at a USS auction, JU auction, Honda auction or TAA  auction.  Unfortunately, grouping all auctions together under a single umbrella is not a good idea.  Just as assuming Japanese and Koreans and Chinese and Thais and Malaysians are all asian, so the same. Easier to generalize and put everyone into the same box.  Well just as all asians are extremely different so are the auctions.  Just because USS Shikoku gives a grade 4 doesn’t make it better than Honda Osaka grade 3 (it could be worse!).  Auctions have a reputation for differing degrees of strictness … so what can you do?

Look at the map!  The map will tell you a lot more than the grade will.  Auction inspectors spend around 20 minutes per car carefully detailing every dent and every scratch.  You don’t need level 1 ability in the Japanese Language Proficiency test to read a map. 

So yes, grade 4 with a grain of salt!  Read the map and get off the grade train! 

Golden Week Auction Break

Re: Golden Week Holiday 2021

The end of April and start of May is the Golden Week holiday period in Japan. 

We have set the following schedule to best serve the interests of our customers:

Provide Cars’ Office

The office will be closed from Thursday April 29th, until Wednesday May 5th. It will be open and operational again from Thursday, May 6th.

(The office handles such matters as shipping, banking, documentation etc.)

Bidding Team (Auction)

The bidding team will be bidding on cars at the auctions as normal until Saturday, April 30th.  Back to normal schedule from Thursday May 6th. 
 
Office schedule for Golden Week
 

Gas vs. Tolls in Japan

Due to arrival quarantine laws with COVID-19, what is normally an hour flight from Tokyo to Osaka turned into an 8 hour drive.  Apart from the rental car cost, what is more expensive, the petrol for the trip or the tolls?

Those who know Japan will say it is a no brainer, those who don’t may be surprised!  Here is the trip:

Add in the traffic jams, toilet breaks, food breaks and toilet breaks and food breaks and toilet breaks and … in theory an 8 or 9 hour trip. However, if you travel at the same speed as the rest of the traffic,  you can cut about 1 hour off the trip.  I will not state here the driving speed as I may incriminate myself, but least to say we were overtaken most of the time by cars doing close to 140 kms/hr. 

So how about costs?  This was the rental car:  Nissan Note, not hybrid.

 37 litres of fuel used.  At 135 yen per litre that comes out to around 5000 yen. 

So the toll costs?  Here:

15,490 yen … or $145 US .. or 103 English pounds … or if you must 10,800 rubbles!

So the answer: it costs 3x the cost of petrol for tolls in a fairly fuel efficient car in Japan