Import Japanese Cars to the UK

Importing cars from Japan to the United Kingdom has become increasingly popular over the years. Japanese vehicles are known for their reliability, efficiency, and advanced technology. Whether you're a car enthusiast looking for a unique Japanese model or someone interested in cost-effective and eco-friendly transportation, importing a Japanese car to the UK can be a rewarding endeavor. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the reasons behind the popularity of Japanese cars in the UK, the steps involved in importing one, and some key considerations to keep in mind throughout the process. One of the significant advantages of importing Japanese cars to the UK is their environmentally friendly nature. Many Japanese automakers have been pioneers in producing hybrid and electric vehicles. These vehicles contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and are eligible for incentives and lower road taxes in the UK. 

Why Import Japanese Cars to the UK?

Japanese cars have gained a solid reputation worldwide for several reasons, making them attractive options for UK consumers:

  1. Reliability: Japanese automakers, such as Toyota, Honda, and Subaru, are renowned for their commitment to quality and reliability. Many Japanese cars have earned high reliability ratings, which can be particularly appealing to UK buyers looking for long-lasting vehicles.

  2. Fuel Efficiency: Fuel prices in the UK can be high, making fuel-efficient cars a priority for many consumers. Japanese automakers often excel in producing fuel-efficient vehicles, including hybrid and electric models.

  3. Advanced Technology: Japanese cars often come equipped with cutting-edge technology, including safety features, infotainment systems, and driver-assist technology. This can provide a more enjoyable and safe driving experience.

  4. Resale Value: Japanese cars tend to hold their value well, which can be advantageous if you decide to sell your vehicle in the future. This can make them a wise investment for both personal use and potential resale.

  5. Variety: Japan offers a wide range of vehicle options, from compact cars to luxury models and off-road vehicles. Whatever your preference or budget, there's likely a Japanese car that fits your needs.

Steps to Importing a Japanese Car to the UK

Importing a Japanese car to the UK involves several steps and considerations. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you navigate the process:

  1. Research and Choose Your Car: Begin by researching the Japanese car you want to import. Consider factors such as model, age, mileage, and condition. Japanese used car auctions and online marketplaces are good places to start your search.

  2. Find a Reliable Importer: Look for a reputable car importer or broker who specializes in Japanese vehicles. They can help you navigate the complex process of importing a car, including handling paperwork and logistics.

  3. Verify the Car's Eligibility: Ensure that the car you intend to import complies with UK regulations. Check if it meets emissions standards, safety requirements, and other legal criteria. Some Japanese cars may require modifications to be eligible for UK roads.

  4. Calculate Import Costs: Importing a car involves various costs, including purchase price, shipping fees, import duties, taxes, and registration fees. Calculate these costs to determine your total expenses.

  5. Inspect and Purchase the Car: If possible, have the car inspected by a trusted mechanic in Japan to assess its condition. Once you're satisfied, purchase the vehicle and arrange for shipping to the UK.

  6. Shipping and Customs Clearance: Your chosen importer will coordinate the shipping of the car to the UK. You'll need to complete customs clearance procedures and pay any applicable import duties and taxes.

  7. Registration and Compliance: After the car arrives in the UK, it must undergo an MOT (Ministry of Transport) test to ensure it meets safety and environmental standards. You'll also need to register the vehicle with the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency).

  8. Insurance and Road Tax: Arrange insurance coverage for your imported car and pay the annual road tax to make it road legal in the UK.

  9. Enjoy Your Japanese Car: Once all the paperwork is complete and your car is road legal, you can start enjoying your Japanese import on UK roads.

Key Considerations

While importing a Japanese car to the UK can be a rewarding experience, there are some important considerations to keep in mind:

  1. Left-Hand Drive: Some Japanese cars are right-hand drive, which may not be practical or legal in the UK. Ensure that the car you choose is suitable for driving on UK roads.

  2. Importation Costs: Importing a car can be expensive, with costs including shipping, import duties, and taxes. Be prepared for these expenses and budget accordingly.

  3. Parts and Maintenance: Consider the availability of parts and maintenance for your imported Japanese car. Some parts may be challenging to source in the UK, so research this aspect before making a purchase.

  4. Resale Value: While Japanese cars often have good resale value, it's essential to factor in depreciation when planning your purchase.

  5. Legal Compliance: Ensure that your imported car complies with all UK laws and regulations, including emissions standards, safety requirements, and MOT testing.

In conclusion, importing a Japanese car to the UK can be a rewarding endeavor for those seeking reliable, efficient, and technologically advanced vehicles. By following the steps outlined in this guide and carefully considering all relevant factors, you can successfully import and enjoy your Japanese car on British roads. Whether you're a car enthusiast or simply looking for a practical and economical transportation solution, the world of Japanese cars offers a diverse range of options to suit your needs.


  • Certificate of Origin
  • Bill of Lading
  • Packing List
  • Commercial Invoice
  • Customs Clearance