Car Prices In Japan Rising
Car Prices In Japan Rising

Car Prices In Japan Rising

October 20, 2022

Is it true that car prices in Japan are rising?

5 minute read

I have been exporting cars for many years now and watched car prices in Japan fluctuate during these years. Much of this fluctuation was determined by what was going on in Japan at any given time. Maybe it is bonus time for employees or the end of the financial year for companies. Cars are pumped into the auctions and marketplace during these times. So car prices in Japan rising dramatically currently.

There is a myriad of reasons for past fluctuations in Japanese car prices but mostly until recent times, they were mostly quite stable. So we have to examine what’s going on because I for one want to know because it affects me directly.

Auction agents
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Everyone Wants To Be An Auction Agent

So just what is an auction agent? If you intend to buy a car from Japan you’re going to need the services of an auction agent. The auction agent is a bonafide member of the Japanese car auction system and has access to all auctions and therefore can buy cars directly from these places without the need for a middleman. This in turn makes the car cheaper overall for the end user (You).

The middleman is a broker in your country or Japan who is paying an auction agent to bid for him and pretending that she or he is bidding for you when in reality they are not. They contact their agent in Japan who does the bidding at a far smaller fee which is passed on to you in your broker’s fees.

Many of these people are also inflating auction prices so that you will increase your bidding price offering the broker and agent a better chance of winning the car.

This is all good in theory but if all these brokers from overseas are telling their clients to pay a little more it’s only going to result in a price long term as you are all bidding on the same cars.

The other compounding issue is the amount of want-to-be brokers and agents on the internet basically pretending they are in Japan sourcing cars direct and creating all sorts of bogus details about cars and prices. Many will post cars that sold months before just to get attention from potential buyers locally.

None of the above makes for a stable used car export business price-wise in Japan as these fake details and information from non-Japanese-based importers/agents/brokers are simply confusing everyone.

Go direct to an auction agent in Japan and save us all the drama of watching prices without inflation being the major cause.

Social Media and the Japanese Car Syndrome
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Social Media and the Japanese Car Syndrome

It’s so cool for us all to be posting stuff on social media and watching our posting exploits obtain a like or two on Facebook, Twitter, and others. I love it also. I love it so much I probably post about 5 cars a day when I am feeling upbeat and generous with my free time, I even made some links.

We are not the only ones doing this either and one of the favorite pictures to post is cars going through the auction systems here in Japan. There are pages everywhere on Facebook dedicated to cars from Japanese dealers and auctions. Some of the main players in this are brokers/agents who don’t even live in Japan quoting the SOLD price even before the auction has started.

These dudes and others will actually hijack a picture from the auctions and post it on social media as their own stock with a price that’s not realistic. Then their followers and others read this garbage and start talking about higher prices. Social Media is a monster and it doesn’t take long for the prices here in Japan to start skyrocketing accordingly. Don’t believe everything you read. Go direct to an auction agent in Japan for the real deal. Stop posting prices on Social Media! and stop pretending that the car is already bought with some fake price attached.

Contact an auction agent in Japan for the real deal.

Sellers holding cars for longer
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Sellers Holding Cars For Longer

Times are getting hard here in Japan believe it or not. This is a fact. There is so much financial insecurity here in Japan that people are now holding cars twice as long as they did say five years back. It’s a domino effect here. Once one starts they all follow suit.

Prior to this Japanese car owners would be trading up their cars every three to five years. They would get their yearly bonus or there comes some sales marketing push from major car manufacturers and they would trade up knowing they had the funds and that there’s a great deal awaiting them on a new car.

Now bonuses have all but gone for these people and salaries remain much the same as they have for the last 30 years or so even though tax has increased substantially.

So there are fewer cars being put back into the market overall which means fewer cars to sell. This only pushes used car prices up over time.

Automotive sales statistics in Japan
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Japanese Sellers See Statistics

If you are a constant buyer of cars from Japan you surely should have seen the prices rise at auction. For example, let’s say that 8 years ago you were buying a Porsche 911 Carrera 964 or similar. As an auction agent, I would have told you that this car was going to cost you about 2.5 to 3.0 million Japanese yen and you would have grumbled and said it’s too expensive. I am out of the hunt.

But on the other side of the world.

Another agent in Germany says the same to his/her client and says ok let’s give it a shot. Then 2 other agents in Poland, Canada, or whatever say the same or more to their clients, and suddenly a car that should have sold in Japan for about 2.8 million JPY just sold for 3.4 or 3.6 million JPY. These people are fighting for the same car on different sides of the world with one buyer paying too much for the car.

The price is then put on the internet by someone which creates fake inflation for car prices in Japan. It’s an imposter syndrome almost.

While this is going on all true auction members here in Japan including yours truly have access to previous sales histories for the past 12 weeks. If I was going to put a Porsche 911 Carrera 964 back into the auction now it’s going to have a reserve of 3.4 million now because I know the price I can get from the Auction.

Today you would need to pay 7 to 10 million JPY for the same car and sellers here are laughing all the way to the bank.

We Are All To Blame For Car Prices Increasing
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We Are All To Blame For Car Prices Increasing

Yes, it’s true, we are all to blame for these price increases in the end. Japanese sellers get greedy and buyers get stupid and greedy also. Auction agents also get greedy for more sales and will sometimes give inaccurate advice. Social media also has a huge role to play also.

Simply put, car prices in Japan won’t drop any time soon unless we stop paying too much in turn flooding our own markets with overpriced cars from Japan. As long as you the overseas buyers keep watching social media and inflating prices the sellers in Japan will milk you for every dollar or Euro you have.

Have fun buying cars from us in the meantime as there still are some great bargains here.

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