Not too long ago, the words “auto manufacturer” meant dealing with the “Big Three” – the American manufacturing companies like General Motors, Chrysler and Ford. Everyone bought their cars and they were clearly industry leaders – powerful companies that ranked high in customer satisfaction, made quality vehicles and were the most popular cars to own. Times have definitely changed. Not only are the “Big Three” not as powerful as they once were, they have lost the loyalty of so many Americans who now look toward other manufacturers for better value and better prices, even if it means ignoring American pride and going after imported cars instead.
When I think of importing a vehicle from, say, Japan, I’m not talking about those that are really made in the U.S.A. – cars like Toyotas, Hondas or Nissans. I mean an actual imported vehicle that comes from Japan and is shipped overseas through the efforts of an automobile exporter.
I have several reasons why I think these imported autos from Japan are better than those made here in the U.S. One big reason is the exchange rate. It’s more attractive financially to obtain a car directly from Japan, even when you include the extra fees and monies you pay for shipping and taxes. It’s simply cheaper to buy a car directly from Japan than it is to buy a similar car made in the U.S. In addition, I can afford a much nicer car if I buy straight from Asia. The price difference can be in the range of thousands.
If I am in the market for a used car, I’ll get a better deal from those shipped over from Japan. The Japanese car owners don’t rely on their vehicles on a daily basis like we do in the U.S. They use scooters, public transportation or simply walk instead of using their cars. Often, Japanese cars are saved for weekend trips so they aren’t like these high-mileage used cars you’ll find here. I can buy a car from Japan that is several years’ old, pay a reasonable price and I won’t be looking at inheriting a steep mileage on the car. What’s more, you won’t find many of these models made in the United States so their rarity makes them far more special than your average “foreign car”.
When I initially thought of the idea, I didn’t think it would be worth the extra hassle and I wasn’t sure how much extra it would cost to directly import and ship a Japanese vehicle. I thought it would take forever and I didn’t know if I could trust any of the importers. Finally, I did my homework and found an exporter that I felt comfortable with and who had a decent reputation. Once I discovered it wasn’t that big of a deal, I made the leap and bought an automobile I liked. It took a while to be shipped overseas, but my efforts were rewarded with a car I truly liked.
My personal advice is to dump the usual set of cars made here in the U.S. and think about buying an import from Japan that is reasonably priced and in good condition.