Used Japanese Imports into New Zealand: A Brief History

Over 100,000 used vehicles are imported into New Zealand each year, most of them from Japan.

New Zealanders started importing used cars from Japan over 30 years ago.  Japanese imports gave New Zealanders access to better value and higher specified used cars. 


A lot of the cars imported 30 years ago were different models and a different standard to the second hand models then available in New Zealand.  Today, most imports are similar models to the most popular second hand cars originally sold new in New Zealand, for example Mazda 3’s and Suzuki Swifts.

Most people buy used Japanese imports because they represent the best value, that is, they are generally cheaper than an equivalent car that was originally sold new in New Zealand.

The other reason to buy a Japanese import because is to get an interesting vehicle that was never sold new in New Zealand.  These are very often also great value for money.

As a rule, though it’s not always true, older Japanese imports sold for the first time in New Zealand tend to have lower kilometres and a better specification than an equivalent car that was originally sold new in New Zealand.

While around 100,000 people this year will buy used a Japanese import vehicle that is freshly imported to New Zealand, most imported cars sold have been owned by a previous New Zealand owner.  It’s worth noting, from our experience, a lot of buyers don’t really care whether the second hand car they are buying was originally sold new overseas or in New Zealand. 

If value is the main reason for buying a Japanese imported used vehicle, then the risk of not knowing, or being unsure about the history of the vehicle is the main reason not to. Often you don’t get the car’s service history and can’t be sure of its mileage, though there are ways of minimizing the risk that speedometer might have been wound back.  

We have now got the capability to help you buy a imported car direct from Japan, using the same auctions as dealers use, though without the dealer markups! Ask us how.

Whether you are looking for a used imported vehicle, a new imported vehicle, a new - New Zealand sourced vehicle or a second hand vehicle originally sold in New Zealand, or - you don’t care where you next vehicle was originally sold, we can help. 

We can help you determine the best vehicle for your specific needs and then find and negotiate the best deal for it.  We can help with extended warranties and loans and we can even arrange for the sale of your old vehicle. 

Contact us at - we’ll do the hard work and save you money.