Buyer imports his own car from Japan

William Findlay imported a Mazda 3.
William Findlay imported a Mazda 3.

IMPORTING a car directly from Japan saved a Wellington man about $4000.

William Findlay, 23, recently imported a 2005 Mazda Axela Sport he bought off a Japanese website for a total cost of about $8000.

He said the car had an insurable valuable of $12,000 in New Zealand, and Auto Trader's website has a comparable vehicle listed for $11,500.

ON THE JOB: William Findlay, of Thorndon, imported a Mazda 3.
ON THE JOB: William Findlay, of Thorndon, imported a Mazda 3.

Findlay, a graduate lawyer, said he began researching how to import the car himself a few months ago, after his grandfather did the same in 2005. "My philosophy was, basically, if he can do it, so can I."

He said after looking on the internet and around various dealerships domestically, he concluded he would not be "getting a great car" for $8000.

As such, he went to Google Japan's homepage and searched "quite literally" for "car exporters".

"There are some agents that do it, so you pay them a set fee and they'll import a car for you, but I just thought I'd try to do it myself."

He said there was a big difference in price between Japanese dealers, with some requiring a US$1000 (NZ$1286) deposit just to bid on the auctions. Eventually, he found a website called BeForward, which "seemed a bit cheaper than everything else".

Findlay said he paid about $5000 in total to the Japanese company for the car, which included shipping.

His Mazda arrived in July. Overall, it took about six weeks to arrive from the day he clicked the "buy" button.

"There's a lot of hoops to jump through and there's nowhere that you can go to that outlines what those hoops are."

Other costs in getting the car to New Zealand included a fee for the shipping agent, GST, hiring a truck to deliver the car, and various vehicle checks before the car was cleared for New Zealand roads.

The 2005 car had arrived with about 100,000 kilometres on the clock and Findlay said he was very happy with his purchase.

"It's a nice modern car. I certainly wouldn't be able to afford a car like that in New Zealand."

Taranaki Daily News