How to Import a Used Japanese Car into the UK

Toyota Land Cruiser

Toyota Land CruiserEvery car lover has their unicorn – that singular vehicle that you are always hunting for, and always dream of driving.

For some people this might be a British classic car, but for others the most elusive unicorns live in Japan.

Japan has its own unique car culture that has led to many of the best and most affordable sports cars in the world to be developed by its native manufacturers. Some of these were never available on our shores, or if they were, the cars were watered down versions of their Japanese cousins.

Importing cars from Japan is incredibly popular amongst UK petrol heads, and every year hundreds of drivers import cars from the land of the rising sun to take out on the roads that wind through the British countryside. Here we have some tips on how to import a used Japanese car to the UK, so you can capture your Japanese unicorn, and get the high-performance car of your dreams.

Where Do I Look?
The first question on most people’s list is, where can I look for cars? The only logical option for someone trying to buy a Japanese car in the UK is from a Japanese auction site.

The convenience of an auction site also comes with safeguards which let you proceed with a deal confidently, as well as find your car in the first place. There are companies that can help you find and import a car, but be aware that you will pay extra costs for their service and you can accomplish a lot on your own.

When You Make a Purchase, What Happens Next?
Arranging export and import of the vehicle, and shipping, is actually easier than you may think. Many Japanese car auction sites are used to people exporting vehicles, and offer streamlined services.

One thing you shouldn’t overlook when shipping and importing a car from Japan is insurance. Make sure your vehicle is insured for any damage during its journey across the waves, and that you have a Japanese import car insurance policy ready when your car arrives. can help you compare policies that are specifically designed for Japanese import cars. Check out their site to do a quick comparison and grab a deal.

Inspections, Documentation, Registration and Taxes
There are still some things to do when you finally get your vehicle to the United Kingdom. Your vehicle will need to be inspected by both UK Customs Officers and The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) for an Individual Vehicle Approval (IVA) test.

With these things in place, you are ready to register your vehicle with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) and pay your taxes on the vehicle and its importation. Import duty is 10% of the car’s price and shipping fee, and the VAT is 20% of the car’s price and all fees including shipping and testing. Even with these added costs, a car from Japan can still offer a lot of value.

Some of the world’s most exclusive, high performance sports cars come from Japan, with many only available there in the right specification. If you are looking for a special car, or your unicorn, then consider the tips in this guide if you import a car from Japan.

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