There are three ways to import vehicles to Australia.
1. SEVS compliance:
A compliance plate must be reserved with a certified RAWS company holding
SEVS (Specialist and Enthusiast Vehicles) compliance plates before buying
and importing a SEVS vehicle. Here is the official government site listing
all certified RAWS companies to date. http://raws.dotars.gov.au/rawswebpublic/RAWPubSearch.asp#results
Also be sure to ask them the price and service they provide as this varies
greatly from one RAWS company to another, and from one model to another.
The general costing is between about $2K ~ $4K for full compliance.
Once you strike a deal with a RAWS company and put a hold on a compliance
plate, then it’s time to search Japan for that particular model.
Be sure to find out the exact model, chassis code etc. from the RAWS company
as only certain models are eligible for import & compliance. Once
you know exactly what you are looking for, then it's time to contact us.
We will search high and low and send you examples that suit your criteria
for your review. We personally inspect vehicles, translate engineer reports
and place bids on your behalf. We also store the car on our wharf until
your RAWS company receives the Import Approval. We make the purchase invoices,
shipping instructions and book your car on next available vessel heading
to your city upon your request.
Once you purchase a vehicle, your RAWS compliance company must apply to
DOTARS (Department of Transport and Regional Services) in Canberra for
an ‘Import Approval’. It is an offence to import anything
before the application is “Approved” and in your possession.
Just notify us as soon as you receive the Import Approval back from DOTARS
and KobeCars will book your car on the next available vessel.
Once imported, your RAWS compliance company will change several parts
and add a few parts to up-date your vehicle to ADR (Australian Design
Rules) standards. Affix your car with an Australian compliance plate and
a new 17-digit vin number. Then have your car inspected by the local authorities
and prepared for registration.
Note: Cars being imported for SEVS compliance must be stock standard and
have no serious accident history. Please consult your RAWS compliance
company for specific details.
2. 1988 and older import scheme:
Any vehicle that is manufactured in 1988 or older is eligible for import
to Australia for regular road use. Cars, trucks, busses, motorbikes whatever,
as long as it is older than 1988. An ‘Import Approval’ application
to DOTARS must be made and Import Approval returned and approved prior
to shipping. Import Approval application forms can be down-loaded from
Once a car is purchased KobeCars can store it for free at our shipping
agent’s compound on the Kobe wharf till you get the Import Approval
and instruct us to export your car. The yard has 24-hour security guards
and is insured against theft or any damage caused by staff negligence,
however that’s as far as the insurance goes. You store your car
in Japan at your own risk, deterioration may occur, and no insurance against
natural disasters like earthquakes, hailstorms, or not so natural North
Korean long-range missiles for instance.
It is also your problem should your government change the import laws
in your country while the car is still in Japan. Obviously there is no
refund once you’ve committed yourself to a car. However in any event,
the car still belongs to you, and you can always ask us to take it back
to the auctions and resell it on your behalf if necessary.
You must apply to DOTARS (Department of Transport and Regional Services)
in Canberra for an ‘Import Approval’. It is an offence to
import anything before the application is “Approved” and in
your possession. Just notify us as soon as you receive the Import Approval
back from DOTARS and KobeCars will book your car on the next available
vessel heading to your nearest port.
Please read the details regarding 1988 and older import scheme from your
Before your car arrives, we strongly suggest you employ the services of
a shipping agent in your town to handle the whole import procedure.
For a service fee of about $140 they will pay the import duties, shipping
freight, GST and clear your car through customs on your behalf, then provide
you with an itemized list of all the fees. You simply pay them off and
go to pick up your car at the wharf.
Import fees are:
• 10% of the FOB price for import duty. (only 5% for commercial
• US$85 per cubic meter for ocean freight. For ex: an R33 Skyline
measures a little over 10 cubic meters.
• About $350 or so for wharf charges in Australia. (each wharf has
• 10% GST
• $140 for shipping agent’s fee
After you bring your car home, you simply apply for an inspection at your
local road safety authorities and update your car to conform with Australian
Design Rule standards. Some parts may have to be changed to pass the roadworthy
inspection. For example: the driver’s door mirror must be replaced
with a flat mirror instead of the Japanese convex one. Side door intrusion
bars must be fitted for passenger vehicles. The parker lens must be clear
or white lens instead of the Japanese amber ones. And child seat restraint
anchorages need to be fitted to any vehicle with a back seat. An unleaded
petrol restrictor will also have to be fitted if the vehicle runs on gasolene.
The road safety department will post you a list of all that has to be
changed according to the model you’ve imported.
FOB package Fee:
- Our buyer's fee
100,000 yen fee on top of the cost price at auction is necessary to make
your vehicle Free On Board (FOB). The 100,000 yen covers the auction house
fee, transportation to the wharf, handling, de-registration papers, invoicing,
shipping instructions, wharf & custom clearance fees and our buyer’s
fee. Everything to buy & export your car.
So the actual purchase price plus the 100,000 yen fee is called the full
FOB price. For example: If cost price at auction were 300,000 yen, the
full FOB price would be 400,000 yen FOB. No more to pay on the Japan side.
Divide this by the present exchange rate to work out the Australian dollar
equivalent. So if the present exchange rate is 80 yen to the dollar: Divide
400,000 by 80 = A$5,000
- Exchange rates
As the exchange rate fluctuates daily, it’s a good idea to subscribe
to the Universal Currency Converter to get the Aust. Dollar – Japanese
yen exchange rate e-mailed to you daily.
Subscribe for free at: http://www.xe.com/cus
- Import duties
You must pay 10% of the full FOB price to the Aust. Government as an import
duty, once the car has landed.
- Shipping freight
All shipping around the world is calculated in US dollars. The roll-on,
roll-off shipping freight from Japan to all major cities in Australia
is about US$65 per cubic meter. Length times by width times by height
will give you the cubic meter measurement. For example a Nissan Skyline
R33 coupe is 464cm x 172cm x 134cm = 10.694 meters. So 10.694 x US$65
10% GST is also required.
- On road costs
ORC will vary from one model to another and from state to state. Please
contact your local registration department for details.
3. Race & Rally import scheme:
If you have a CAMS license (Confederation of Australian Motor Sport) you
are able to import any car you wish for the purpose of racing or rallying.
However the vehicle can never be registered for regular road use. For
more information visit the CAMS website http://www.cams.com.au
You can even register your import with Race & Rally rego, but that
only allows you to legally drive your car on the roads to & from rally
events, promotions & places for repairs etc.