Things in Japan

Things in Japan

Sep 3, 2012

Value of a used car in Japan

Value of used cars in Japan

Those of you who live in Japan are most probably aware of how low the value of used cars are here. In fact there is a thriving business of used car export from Japan to other countries. Recently I have sold my old car since it's already due for it's Shaken (mandatory 2 yearly inspection for cars older than 3 years). 

The Shaken for my Subaru Pleo which is a Kei car (small cars with displacement of less than 660cc) for my area would have been around ¥50,000 for government related taxes and about ¥30,000 charged by the garage for maintenance stuff like changing brake pads, changing the rubber grease cover for the front wheel drive joint. This can cost much more depending on your car condition, the garage you go to etc. More details can be found here.

Since we have bought another car from a friend, we decided to sell the old Subaru. In Japan, the vast majority of used car sales are conducted by private individuals and specialist used car companies who then offload them to used car sales shops via an auction system. these auctions are where used car exporters get their stock from. Private sales between individuals are quite rare for convenience and privacy reasons.

Anyway, on to the Subaru Pleo, it's the greenish car on the left. It's 11 y.o. with a slight ding on the right side passenger door where a motor scooter hit it. 60,000 Km on the clock and in good running condition overall. Supercharged engine, CVT transmission & as a side note a nifty 7 speed semi-manual mode where you change gears from the steering wheel. Hey F1!

...and how much do you think the used car dealer offered? 

¥5,000 which is about US$60. I mean like WTF Japan! 
I actually called a few people asking if they know anyone who want to pay me same money or slightly better,  just so someone who needs a car can get it cheap instead of the dealers but everybody got cars already. I would have given it away to friends but again everybody I know do not need another car. At the end, managed to get ¥10,000 for it from another dealer. The market price for similar car in the used car market is around ¥250,000 ~ ¥480,000. This is just to give you an idea about selling used cars in Japan. Sometimes if your car is not of a popular make and model you even have to pay the disposal cost to these companies which is around ¥15,000.