The Ultimate Guide to Importing Japanese Used Cars to Ireland

The Ultimate Guide to Importing Japanese Used Cars to Ireland


For Irish enthusiasts and potential buyers, Japanese used cars present an excellent opportunity to acquire vehicles known for their reliability, efficiency, and value. This comprehensive guide demystifies the process of importing a car from Japan to Ireland, highlighting key regulations, costs, and the steps involved.


Step 1: Finding Your Ideal Car

Japanese vehicles, known for their superior quality and low mileage, depreciate quickly due to Japan’s stringent vehicle inspection system. Buyers can either purchase cars online or participate in Japanese car auctions, where vehicles are graded on condition, allowing you to know exactly what you’re buying.

Vehicle Grading Explained

  • Overall Grade: Ranges from 1.0 (poor condition) to 6.0 (as new).
  • R or RA: Indicates vehicles with repair history.
  • Interior and Exterior Grades: Range from A (pristine) to E (bad condition), providing insight into the vehicle’s overall state.

Step 2: Cost Estimation

Importing a car involves the vehicle purchase price, shipping costs, and import taxes, detailed as follows:

  • Vehicle Purchase Price: Purchases can be CIF (including shipping to Dublin) or FOB (excluding shipping).
  • Shipping Costs: RORO shipping is convenient for single vehicles, while containers may be more cost-effective for multiple vehicles.
  • Import Taxes: Comprise customs duty (3.8% or 10%), VAT (23%), and VRT (varies based on emissions).

Step 3: Purchase the Car

Choose a reputable Japanese used car exporter to ensure a smooth transaction. Recommended exporters include SBT Co. Ltd., Be Forward, EVERY Co., Ltd., Qualitex Trading, and Autorec Enterprise Ltd.

Top Recommended Japanese Used Car Export Companies for International Customers

Step 4: Ship It to Ireland

After purchasing your vehicle and arranging shipping, it will be transported to Dublin port, either via RORO or container.

Step 5: Customs Clearance

Upon arrival, it’s crucial to clear your vehicle through customs. Hiring a customs agent can simplify this process, handling the customs declaration and payment of duties and VAT on your behalf.

Step 6: Collecting Your Vehicle

Vehicles cannot be driven until registered, necessitating tow services for RORO arrivals or hauliers for container arrivals.

Step 7: Register the Car

Register and pay the VRT at an NCT centre within 30 days of the vehicle entering Ireland, following an inspection.

Step 8: New Registration Plates

After registration, purchase and display your new registration plates.

Step 9: Pay Your Motor Tax

Finalize the import process by paying your motor tax, making your Japanese import road-legal in Ireland.


Importing a Japanese used car to Ireland can be a rewarding venture, offering access to high-quality vehicles at competitive prices. By understanding the steps and costs involved, you’re well-equipped to navigate the process successfully. Whether you’re seeking efficiency, performance, or a unique addition to your collection, Japanese used cars offer something for every buyer in Ireland.

If you want to know more details about Japanese used vehicle exporting, please refer to Wikipedia.