Guide to Importing Cars from Japan to America
JDM cars are highly coveted by American collectors because of the nature of their manufacture. JDM stands for Japanese Domestic Market, and this simply means that these were primarily and exclusively sold in Japan for the country\’s own citizens. This is exactly their appeal, and the reason behind the practice of importing cars from Japan to America. These imports are made differently from US specifications, and some of these models have garnered a worldwide appeal as collectors\’ cars.
These Japanese imports aren\’t new; on the contrary, most models were manufactured as many as four decades ago, and some models aren\’t even produced anymore. Their rarity as limited-edition models add to their appeal and many Americans spend tens of thousands of dollars just to get one. Aside from this, another reason why vehicles from Japan are popular in the United States is their affordability without compromising quality. How is this so? Well, Japanese owners take care of their cars really well, so those that end up in the secondhand market actually look, feel, and of course, drive like new.
If you are interested in buying a car from Japan and having it shipped to the United States, you should first know the import regulations. These regulations provide the information about which models are allowed in the country, the vehicle specifications required, and the process of importation. You must make sure that the car you are buying meets the bumper, safety, and theft prevention standards set by both the United States and Canada.
The NHTSA or National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is the government authority behind the import regulations, as they are also the branch of the US government that is responsible for keeping the roads safe. The NHTSA has in place safety performance standards and fuel economy standards that all import cars from Japan to America must meet. One of the regulations covers the importation of a vehicle for display, or exhibition. You may have seen imports in car shows—these autos have gone through a meticulous process involving the submission of an Application for Determination That a Motor Vehicle is Eligible for Show or Display. The buyers need to accomplish this form along with other required documents. If unsure, a buyer may first consult the NHTSA\’s list of eligible and ineligible models.
If the NHTSA approves the application, then the buyer may purchase the vehicle. A formal application for importing the car from Japan to America will be submitted by the buyer. The buyer is also responsible for making sure that the odometer reading of the car doesn\’t register more than 2500 miles in a 12-month period, especially if the buyer is planning to drive the car on the highway (for limited on-road use so that the car can be driven to and from exhibition locations). Performance-wise, the car\’s braking, engine, lighting, and overall mechanics must be in good working order and properly maintained. The car may be checked during a pre-shipment inspection.If you are planning to import cars from Japan to America, make sure you check out the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration\’s import regulations and restrictions first. The process may look difficult, but as you go along you\’ll realize that it\’s all worth it, especially when you receive your JDM car.
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