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6 Easy Steps! Import Japanese Used Cars

Have you ever wondered how Japanese used cars are imported? Have you wanted to import one yourself but been too afraid to act on it? Importing has never been easier, and anyone, including a complete novice, can do it. Here is how you do it in 6 easy steps!

  1. Choose Your Vehicle

Go to a Japanese car exporter’s website and choose your vehicle. There are many companies out there offering thousands of them, so you’re really spoilt for choice. Just make sure you’re buying one from a reputable company though – there have been many horror cases where customers have been defrauded of their life-savings because they paid into fake, non-existing companies. However, you should be fine provided that you use common sense and buy from trusted and established companies, such as CardealPage.


  1. Choose Your Port

Once you’ve chosen your vehicle, you select the port of delivery. Most Zimbabwean buyers choose either Dar es Salaam (in Tanzania) or Durban (South Africa). Dar es Salaam is the port of choice if you plan to pick up the vehicle yourself at the port and drive it back home. Durban is usually for if you’d like the vehicle delivered by a freight forwarder. You can have it delivered either to the Zimbabwe border (Beitbridge) or even in Zimbabwe itself, such as Harare. Importing Japanese used cars has never been so convenient – you can have it delivered directly to you!


  1. ORDER and PAY!

Once you’ve selected your vehicle and port (or city) of delivery, place your order. This is usually done just by clicking the “Order” button on their sites, and you’ll soon be sent an invoice from them. Let’s familiarize ourselves with some of the terms you will see on the invoice.

FOB, or Free On Board: This refers to the price of the vehicle itself.

Insurance: This is to protect your vehicle against loss or damages while on ship.

Freight: Freight charge from Japan to your chosen port.

CIF (Cost+Insurance+Freight): The sum total of all the above; car, insurance and freight to your chosen port.

You may see additional charges on your invoice depending on what you order such as freight forwarding charge from the port to Harare, but the above will form the basis of your invoice.

Once you have been issued an invoice, take it to your bank and pay. Ask your bank for a “TT COPY” or telegraphic transfer copy once the payment is done. Scan and send the document to your Seller, and they will then usually reserve the vehicle for you until your funds are received.


  1. Shipping

There are usually two to three vessels leaving for Africa every month from Japan, and sailing period is around 4 – 5 weeks. The total waiting period from the time you order and when the vehicle will arrive at the port is around 6 – 8 weeks.


  1. Documents, Port Clearance & Tax

You will receive a few documents before the vehicle arrives at the port.

BL: Bill of Lading. Think of this as the key to claiming your vehicle. You won’t be able to claim your vehicle without it.

Export Certificate: You will also be asked to show this when you claim your vehicle. This shows that your vehicle is not stolen goods, and has been legally imported.

Invoice: You will need to submit this at your local revenue authority or tax office to pay for duty. Make sure you are fully aware of the tax rate and have enough for it before you order your vehicle. What you pay to the Seller is only half the picture.


  1. Port Clearance & Delivery

Once your vehicle has finally arrived, you will need the help of a clearing agent who will “clear” your vehicle at the port. Pass him on your BL so that he can process clearance. If you’re having the vehicle delivered to Zimbabwe, you’ll see your vehicle around a week later. If you’re driving the vehicle back home yourself, just pick up your car from him and drive back home!


There! That’s it! So easy and simple. You might have to wait a bit before you get to see and drive your vehicle, but importing a used car from Japan yourself should still work out cheaper than buying one from a local dealer. Furthermore, the condition of Japanese used cars is generally very good and the mileage genuine (not rewound), so there are many advantages of importing your vehicles. Choose your Seller and vehicle carefully, and drive your dream car!


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