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Suggestions to Personally Import a Car from Japan


Aegon
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I have been reading many articles on this forum regarding misleading done by agents when someone try to import a car from Japan under his personal name. Since there is a question of the authenticity of information provided by car sales people in Sri Lanka, I think of buying a car from Japan which I have two ways to go with.

1. Buying it through an agent which the car will be purchased through an auction and send to SL under my name.

2. Buying it through a friend in Japan who will do the necessary arrangements and clear it from the port paying the tax. 

For the second option, I heard we need to get the service of a clearing agent. How accurate is this information? Can we not clear it by our selves?

Also current tax percentage for a hybrid below 1500CC is 90% and a petrol car is 160% (correct me if I'm wrong please)

Thanks,

Edited by Aegon
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38 minutes ago, Aegon said:

I have been reading many articles on this forum regarding misleading done by agents when someone try to import a car from Japan under his personal name. Since there is a question of the authenticity of information provided by car sales people in Sri Lanka, I think of buying a car from Japan which I have two ways to go with.

1. Buying it through an agent which the car will be purchased through an auction and send to SL under my name.

2. Buying it through a friend in Japan who will do the necessary arrangements and clear it from the port paying the tax. 

For the second option, I heard we need to get the service of a clearing agent. How accurate is this information? Can we not clear it by our selves?

Also current tax percentage for a hybrid below 1500CC is 90% and a petrol car is 160% (correct me if I'm wrong please)

Thanks,

If you need to ask this question (aout getting a clearing agent) then you need a clearing agent. You can do it yourself, however getting a clearing agent will be the easier and quicker way to go especially since you have no idea what the process is. If you do it yourself you will have to "katta kanna" a lot going back and forth and wait around for things to take place. The clearing agents know the process and have relationships with the people inside so they can make sure things get done in proper time. You will have to pay for their services but I think you will lose a lot more in time and other expenses.

As for how you source the car...it depends. You can go through a reputed dealer or have your friend buy a car and send it to you. It really depends on what you would find more convenient.  Sometimes the auxiliary costs like carrying charges to yards and ports can be a little bit lower than with your "friend".

Are you buying a brand new car or a slightly used car ? If its the latter and your friend is willing to walk the extra mile, he might be able to find a car at a local dealer/car sale in Japan (depends on the car you are looking for) and then have it de-registered and shipped. The advantage is that you are certain of getting a roadworthy car and any repair/accident history is directly available and if its purchased at a manufacturer's own used car lot then you can request a comprehensive check as well. The purchase price will be higher because road taxes, etc...already has been paid, however when you de-register the car you get the remaining tax back (of course this may not apply to some cars depending on the age). 

 

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2 hours ago, iRage said:

If you need to ask this question (aout getting a clearing agent) then you need a clearing agent. You can do it yourself, however getting a clearing agent will be the easier and quicker way to go especially since you have no idea what the process is. If you do it yourself you will have to "katta kanna" a lot going back and forth and wait around for things to take place. The clearing agents know the process and have relationships with the people inside so they can make sure things get done in proper time. You will have to pay for their services but I think you will lose a lot more in time and other expenses.

As for how you source the car...it depends. You can go through a reputed dealer or have your friend buy a car and send it to you. It really depends on what you would find more convenient.  Sometimes the auxiliary costs like carrying charges to yards and ports can be a little bit lower than with your "friend".

Are you buying a brand new car or a slightly used car ? If its the latter and your friend is willing to walk the extra mile, he might be able to find a car at a local dealer/car sale in Japan (depends on the car you are looking for) and then have it de-registered and shipped. The advantage is that you are certain of getting a roadworthy car and any repair/accident history is directly available and if its purchased at a manufacturer's own used car lot then you can request a comprehensive check as well. The purchase price will be higher because road taxes, etc...already has been paid, however when you de-register the car you get the remaining tax back (of course this may not apply to some cars depending on the age). 

 

Thanks iRage. This is what it called a proper explanation. 

You are right. I certainly have to "katta kanna" if I want to clear it. Clearing agent will be a smart move yet I need to make sure the guy is genuine and no hidden costs. 

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6 hours ago, Aegon said:

Also current tax percentage for a hybrid below 1500CC is 90% and a petrol car is 160% (correct me if I'm wrong please)

Effective rate of 1.5l hybrid 104% and Non hybrid 184%. Tax calculation is based on 3 things.

1. Customs Valuation

2. Invoice Value

3. Engine Capacity 

For the first two, tax percentage is applicable and the 3rd one is a fix rate like; Hybrid 1.5l Engine 3 Mil and Non Hybrid 4.1 Mil. 

They are getting which ever the highest value. 

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6 hours ago, Aegon said:

find a car at a local dealer/car sale in Japan (depends on the car you are looking for) and then have it de-registered and shipped

hmmm,it seems illegal for local dealers to sell cars for export. A colleague had a hard time when he mentioned this at the last minute,the dealers backed off and didn't want to sell him the car anymore. He had to go through a Japanese friend then.

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11 hours ago, Prangi said:

Effective rate of 1.5l hybrid 104% and Non hybrid 184%. Tax calculation is based on 3 things.

1. Customs Valuation

2. Invoice Value

3. Engine Capacity 

For the first two, tax percentage is applicable and the 3rd one is a fix rate like; Hybrid 1.5l Engine 3 Mil and Non Hybrid 4.1 Mil. 

They are getting which ever the highest value. 

Say I buy a car which has a CIF value of 2,000,000 in SL rupees. So for that value I have to pay 104% of tax (which is another 2.08 Mil) which makes the car value 4.08 Mil. By custom valuation you mean the value decided on the car by customs as I heard they will tax based on the invoice. Appreciate if you can clarify. 

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13 hours ago, vag2 said:

hmmm,it seems illegal for local dealers to sell cars for export. A colleague had a hard time when he mentioned this at the last minute,the dealers backed off and didn't want to sell him the car anymore. He had to go through a Japanese friend then.

Nothing illegal about it....the thing is local agents/dealers in Japan only sell cars to a person based because for them to sell the car they MUST do the registration which requires local addresses, etc...(so they can't sell a car to leisure or business tourists that turn up at their premises). If they were to export the car  they would have to go through the hassle of de-registering, finding shipping and on top of that deal with foreign banking (its not that easy because the local JPY accounts won't accept off-shore remittances) and be accountable to a foreign buyer who probably doesn't speak Japanese. So if you are based in Japan you can buy the car from any agent/dealer and then export it yourself and the agent/dealer will simply not care.

When you get car salesmen in SL buying zero mileage cars in Japan..what they actually do is have a Japanese based party (individual, company,partnered car dealer, their own Japanese office...) buy the car from the manufacturer's dealer in Japan under that party's name. The car gets registered, gets de-registered and then exported. The same can be done with a used car off of any used car lot.

The Japanese based party can be foreign or local as long as they have proper residency in Japan. So if you go visiting to Japan on a tourist visa or a business visit visa you can't buy a car at a local agent/dealer. If you are a tourist, you will have to go to a vehicle exporter's lot and buy one off their lot or have them buy the car you want from a different lot ; or as in your colleague's case get a Japanese friend to do it.

In fact this is how brand new cars at auction make it to auction. Someone buys it under their name, register it and then de-register it and put on auction. The used cars at auction are actual trade-ins at the manufacturers' dealers who de-register it and may decide to sell it on their own used car lot and/or later send it to auction themselves or just transfer it to someone else for selling (who in turn might decide to sell locally, send to auction or depending on the buyer just export it)

So there isn't a magical stock of brand new and used cars that gets pegged for export and another bunch for local sales. Nor is there a bunch of dealers who are authorized to export and another bunch who are not. Anyone based in Japan can export a car out of Japan. However, for quality assurance factors most dealers who are exporting vehicles are urged to register themselves as vehicle exporters with different bodies (like the vehicle exporters association, Japan chamber of Commerce and Trade, etc..)

I am presuming the OP's friend is based in Japan. If he is..then he can do it. I have done it many many times as well and know quite a few people who do it as their side income. On the other hand a lot of people don't like to export cars to Sri Lanka and Sri Lankans. African and Austlasian regions are much more profitable and less risky (even though it is a pain in the rear to actually prep cars for export to Australia) 

Edited by iRage
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4 hours ago, iRage said:

 

I am presuming the OP's friend is based in Japan. If he is..then he can do it. I have done it many many times as well and know quite a few people who do it as their side income. On the other hand a lot of people don't like to export cars to Sri Lanka and Sri Lankans. African and Austlasian regions are much more profitable and less risky (even though it is a pain in the rear to actually prep cars for export to Australia) 

If you have done it many times, you are the right person to answer this question. How the tax will be calculated in Sri Lanka mostly, percentage or CC wise?

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24 minutes ago, Aegon said:

If you have done it many times, you are the right person to answer this question. How the tax will be calculated in Sri Lanka mostly, percentage or CC wise?

1. I have not sent cars to Sri Lanka for along time.. I do not do it as a business...just favors for close friends and most of them have been in Africa and/or South east Asia. Also I do not clear it for them..just find the car they want and ship it out from Japan.

2. Last time I checked what customs does is they charge whatever is the highest. They take the higher figure out of the invoice value and the customs value and calculate tax with the applied percentage.Then they compare that against the taxes based on the CC value and they take whatever would be the higher figure.

Edited by iRage
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6 hours ago, Aegon said:

Say I buy a car which has a CIF value of 2,000,000 in SL rupees. So for that value I have to pay 104% of tax (which is another 2.08 Mil) which makes the car value 4.08 Mil. By custom valuation you mean the value decided on the car by customs as I heard they will tax based on the invoice. Appreciate if you can clarify. 

If you can tell me the model and the grade then it's easy to explain. 

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