Frequently Asked Questions

We know you may some questions about how we operate. Hopefully this page answers them. If not, get in touch!
Importing a car through BHP

How much do I need to pay up front?
The deposit amounts vary depending on vehicle. Deposits start from just £500.

This deposit is 100% refundable. However, once we have been successful with a bid, the deposit is no longer refundable.


Why do I need to pay a deposit?
In order for us to give you our full attention we ask for a deposit to be in place.

We can then start actively searching the auctions and our trusted dealer network to find you a car that meets your requirements. We cannot bid, inspect or enquire about any car without a deposit being in place.


I've seen a car listed on a Japanese car sale site, can you give me a price?
We buy cars from dealers as long as we can inspect the car prior to purchasing. There is a fixed inspection cost of ¥50,000 (£360) as long as the car is within 150km of Nagoya.

A report will be sent as well as dozens of high resolution photos and the final CIF and OTR price. On many occasions we can purchase the car without the need for a Shaken, warranty and on a wholsale basis so the price you pay for the vehicle will be less than the advertised price.

The further the dealer is from Nagoya, the greater the transportation cost within Japan. This needs to be considered when making a decision inspect a vehicle.


I've seen a car listed on another auction site, can you give me a price?
There are over 250 auction houses in Japan. Some are large auction houses that list 10,000s of cars a week. Others are small houses that only pass through 100-500 cars a week.

Some of the smaller houses aren't very accurate with grading and the auction sheets aren't detailed. Use our auction house map to view all the auction houses we buy from and their rating. We have rated the following:

  • Auction Size
  • Grading Accuracy
  • Grade Sheet Standard
  • Overall

The further the auction house is from either Chiba or Nagoya, the greater the transportation cost within Japan. This also needs to be factored in when making a decision to bid.


How accurate are the auction sheets? Can they be trusted?
Japanese car auction inspectors do a good job of inspecting vehicles, but that doesn't mean they are perfect. There are limitations which you should bear in mind.

First of all, consider the fact that the auction property is like a parking lot. Some a quite small, and some (like USS Tokyo or HAA Kobe) are very large. But all of them have in common the fact that they are basically car parks. So one of the biggest limitations of the inspections is that the cars are not driven at speeds higher than you would expect in a parking lot. If a car has an issue that only shows itself when the car gets into fifth gear at 50 miles per hour, then there is clearly no way the auction inspector is going to pick this up.

Secondly, you have to remember that most of these cars are trade-ins. Whereas a car dealer selling to a customer will give the car a full service before handing it over, auction sellers are putting their cars in the auctions as-is.

What that means is that the car may well do fine in the inspection, but after that it will be transported to one of our facilities in either Chiba or Nagoya and we then wash the car, check it over and test drive it. So, while the car may well have been fine when the inspector saw it, you need to take into account that there may be minor problems that need attention.

We always recommend buying from a reputable auction house and/or from one of the houses we can personally inspect the vehicles at. This is a far safer way to buy and mitigates almost all the risk from buying at auction.

This is a system that's been refined and improved over the years and is trusted by Japanese buyers and international buyers alike. The auction houses are liable for misrepresenting a car and will have to settle a claim if they have made a mistake. With car auctions in Japan accounting for thousands of car sales each week the auction sheet has to be accurate and truthful with any faults being clearly specified.


What do all the numbers and letters on the auction sheet mean?
The overall auction grade gives you a good general idea of the condition of the car. The interior and exterior grades help, and the auction inspector's comments provide more detail.

But what about the external condition of the car? The photos from the auctions are not very high resolution, but it is notoriously difficult to get an accurate idea of scratches and dents from photographs anyway. So how can you find out about the condition of the bodywork?

The answer is to use the car "map" that you will find at the bottom right of most auction inspection reports. The inspector uses a system of letters and numbers, as well as drawing directly on the diagram itself to give you a good idea of what the bodywork is like.

Most of it you can read yourself. Then, if there is any information on the map, written in Japanese, we will provide the translation of the auction sheet when calculating the bid.

Common examples of comments you may see written in Japanese on the car map are:

  • Paintwork worn – There will be a “P” for paintwork, and then the Japanese hage meaning “worn”.
  • Misaligned – This is zure in Japanese. This is often seen at the corners of the car and refers to the bumper having been hit on the corner and then knocked out of alignment.
  • Scrapes – This is suri in Japanese. These are not single line scratches that would be referred to with the “A” symbol, but a cluster of scratches and wear that constitute a scrape.
  • Fading – This is ase in Japanese. This is where paintwork colour has faded. Occasionally this is used for fading of the interior of the car as well.
  • Tire tread – The number on each wheel on the car map indicates the amount of tread remaining. This is only done at some auctions, so don't worry if you see no numbers there at all -- it just means the inspector does not check this at this auction.

The annotations you will have to read for yourself, once you have got the hang of this it becomes very easy to read an auction sheet.

Mark Description
A Panel Scratch. Scale 1-3. 1 being minor, 3 being major/large.
B Panel Dent with Scratch. Scale 1-3. 1 being minor, 3 being major/large.
C Corrosion. Scale 1-3. 1 being minor, 3 being large.
E Panel Dimples. Scale 1-3. 1 being minor, 3 being large/scattered in one area.
G Stone Chip in Glass.
H Panel Paint Faded.
P Panel Paint Damage. Scale 1-3. 1 being minor mark, 3 being large mark on the paint. These can be cracks, especially in aftermarket FRP aero packages.
R Repaired Crack on Windshield.
RX Windscreen Needs Replacing.
S Panel and components such as suspension, anti roll bars etc. Surface Rust. Scale 1-2. 1 being surface rust, 2 heavy surface rust.
U Panel Dents. Scale 1-3. 1 being minor, 3 being major/large.
W Panel Repair Waves. Scale 1-3. 1 being minor, 3 being major/large.
X Panel or Glass needs replacing.
XX Panel has been replaced. This could be anything from a minor parking dent to an accident.
Y Panel hole or serious crack. Scale 1-3. 1 being minor, 3 being major/large.

What are the overall grades? What do they mean?
The overall auction grade is the auction inspector's assessment of the overall quality of the car. You can usually find it written in the top right corner of most auction inspection reports.

However, before we get into the details about all these different grades and what each one means, there are three things that need to be emphasized about overall auction grades:

  • They are subjective with different inspectors and different auctions more or less strict
  • The details the inspector writes about the car are much more important
  • The map is a much better reflection of the condition

Put simply, a grade 3.5 at one auction may not be as good as a grade 3.5 at another auction, but may be better than the same grade at a third auction. So anyone who tells you they have a great grade 4 you should bid on is not giving you the whole story. Make sure you get a translation of what is written on the auction sheet first. This is all part of the service BHP provide.

We think the overall auction grade is useful for one thing and one thing only, and that is to narrow down the number of vehicles you will consider bidding on: Rather than considering a bid on all 15 BNR32 GT-Rs, it means you just consider the 5 grade 4 cars.

Grade Description
Grade 7,8,9 or S These refer to a brand new car with only delivery mileage.
Grade 6 This grade can sometimes be equivalent to the grades above, but sometimes will have a little more than just delivery mileage.
Grade 5 A vehicle in superb condition, very close to brand new standard, but with several thousand kilometers on the odometer.
Grade 4.5 A vehicle in excellent condition, but with up to a few tens of thousands of kilometers on the clock.
Grade 4 A good, solid vehicle usually having less than 100,000 km on the clock.
Grade 3.5 A higher mileage vehicle or one which will need some work to clean up.
Grade 3 Either a very high mileage vehicle or one which is rough.
Grade 2 A very rough vehicle usually with corrosion holes triggering this low grade.
Grade 1 Extensive engine problems or bodywork damage. May alternatively have flood or fire extinguisher damage. Sometimes used to denote extensive modifications or transmission swaps.
Grade R Usually a heavily modified vehicle which has had a different engine or transmission fitted, or which has an aftermarket turbo charger. Cars that are illegal for use on the road in Japan are always Grade R.
Other possibilities are flood or fire extinguisher damage. It can also mean vehicles that have had some degree of accident repairs.
At one end of the spectrum the repairs will be a single panel replaced due a minor parking ding (XX on the map), whereas at the other extreme is a vehicle that has had multiple panels replaced. Key to understanding Grade R cars is to read the notes and map.
Grade RA This grade means vehicles that have had some degree of minor accident repair. Key to understanding this grade is to read the notes and map.
Ungraded / 0 / *** These are sold as-is by the auction with no or almost no information about their condition. As such they are very risky and can result in escalating additional costs if they cannot drive or move freely.

What are the Interior and Exterior Grades?
The interior and exterior grades are similar to the overall grade of the car, in that they give you a general sense of what the interior or exterior of the car is going to be like.

An interior grade of “B” means simply that the car has an interior condition that is very good considering the age and mileage of the vehicle. You can imagine how an interior grade of B for a 1993 car with 120,000km on it is not going to mean the same as an interior grade of B for a 2007 car with 47,000km on the clock.

In the case of a regular (unmodified) car, a grading of “A” for the exterior or interior means that these are above average for the age and KM of the vehicle, a grade of “B” means good, and “C” means average.

Generally, an interior grade below “C” means that the interior has been modified. This is often true in the case of highly modified vehicles that have had roll cages fitted, and seats and interior trim removed. These cars will have interior grades of “D” or worse.

Since late 2016, some auctions (such as HAA Kobe) have created additional interior grade levels by adding "minus" grades as well. So, in these auctions you now have A, A-, B, B-, C as interior grading levels.


Start prices and reserve prices
When you use our Live Auction online search system, you will find that even similar cars may have wildly varying start prices.

Now, the start price is simply the price at which bidding is going to start (as the name suggests). It has no real bearing on the final hammer price.

The only information you can get from the start price is that it tells you the lowest amount you can bid. The amount a car will end up selling for will be the value the market assigns to it through competition with other bidders, and with reference to similar vehicles sold in the past.

Rather than looking at the start price, how much you decide to bid needs to be based on your budget and what similar cars are being sold for at the auctions in Japan.

Japan's car auctions are no different to any other auction. Each car has its own reserve price. So what do you need to know about reserve prices as a buyer? Reserve prices are sometimes mentioned on the auction sheet. If a car is not expected to sell very much, then the price at which bidding starts (the start price) may be set as the reserve price.

If the auction doesn't hit reserve then the car may go into "Negotiation" or "Nego". The highest bidder gets first refusal and the start price for Nego is determined by the seller. Cars often sell through Nego, and this can be a sound way to secure a car away from other bidders bidding the price up.


What other costs are there?
Once we have been successful with a bid there are number of costs in Japan:

  • Agent Fee - this varies based on the cost of the car at auction
  • Auction House Charge - this is the broker fee that has to be paid to the Auction Hous
  • Recycle Fee - Varies based on Auction House and vehicle type)
  • Internal Movement Cost - Varies with distance from auction house to Nagoya
  • Japanese Customs Charge - A fee payable to Japanese Customs to allow exportation
  • Shipping Fee - Varies based on cm3 of the vehicle
  • Bank Charge - a flat rate charge raised by the receieving bank in Japan
  • Marine Insurance Charge - Insurance to cover total loss at sea

These costs need to be covered before we can export the vehicle from Japan. Once the car is loaded onto the vessel it can take between 7-9 weeks to land in Newcastle.

Then the balance becomes payable. The balance is made up of:

  • HMRC Duty: 10% of the vehicle cost
  • HMRC VAT: 20% of the vehicle cost + the duty calculated
  • Customs Clearance Charge
  • MOT, Valet, Service etc
  • DVLA Registration Cost and Plates
  • DVLA Vehicle Tax
  • Insurance until you collect
  • Our Fixed Fee

Extras such as tyres, brake pads and other parts that need replacing either at your request or due to MOT failure are down to you. We offer parts and tyre sourcing at trade price. We do our best to gauge condition after auction with on-ramp inspections; however, buying used cars isn't without problems and expecting a 15 year old car to be absolutely perfect is not reasonable or realistic.

We do not offer an alarm fitting service. We recommend finding a local (to you) mobile fitter or alarm specialist so should there be any problems you have someone local to you to fix the issues.


Is my car secure in Japan after I purchase?
Absolutely. Unlike many other importers we don't have the cars shipped to the docks directly from the auction houses where they can sit for weeks until they ship.

Our staff in Japan have the cars shipped to their facility in either Chiba or Nagoya. There the vehicles undergo a thorough inspection, are cleaned and 40-60 high resolution photos are taken.

Once we have a shipping date the relevant actions are taken to have the cars shipped to the docks where they are safely loaded into vessel. At every stage through our process your car is insured.


What methods of payment are accepted?
For our car importing service you can must pay via BACS/Transfer. This is for both the UK OTR costs and the initial deposit.

For the CIF payment we recommend Azimo for or Transfer Wise.


Can I pay in installments?
Our Private Import Service means that technically you are paying in installments. A total of 4 payments are made from the time we start searching to the time your dream car arrives in the UK.

  • Deposit: £500-£3,000 (depending on vehicle)
  • CIF Costs: (C)argo (I)nsurance (Freight). Basically all the costs in Japan including shipping. This is paid to our partner in Japan via BACS (See above).
  • Customs charges: Raised by Nissan Shipping.
  • UK Costs: Registration, Tax, MOT, Underseal etc.

How do you ship the cars from Japan?
We ship all vehicles RORO. The easiest way to think about it is to imagine a RORO (also written "Ro-Ro") ship as a giant car ferry. Vehicles are driven on and off the ship by port workers called stevedores, hence the name - Roll On Roll Off.

Within the RORO world, there are two major divisions – the PCC (Pure Car Carrier) vessels that are for cars only, and PCTC (Pure Car Truck Carrier) carry both regular passenger cars as well as larger vehicles, like trucks and buses.

From your point of view as a customer, it makes no difference whether your car is shipped by PCC or PCTC. All you really need to know is that these ships are like giant floating parking lots that move new and used vehicles around the world.


What are the advantages of RORO shipping?
First of all, RORO shipping tends to be cheaper. Since the cars are simply driven on and off, there is no need to use extra materials (like a container and materials to load the car), nor does it take as many man hours per car to prepare the vehicle for shipping.

When we receive the car at our end, we can just go pick it up and drive it (or have it transported) away. There's no need to extract it from a container, which can require some equipment and skill if you have more than 2 cars loaded in the container.


Can I track my car once it has shipped from Japan?
You can track the vessel via Marine Traffic.


What is included in the final OTR price?
BHP take care of all the UK paperwork and preparation:

  • Fog light wiring and switch integrated in to existing light cluster
  • Speedo Chip Conversion to MPH (high quality converter, not eBay special!)
  • Odometer converted to miles from kilometers (where possible)
  • Full Underseal with Wax Oil
  • Full Oil Change with Manufacturer Approved Oil Filter and a choice of Shell Helix Synthetic Oil or Mobil 1
  • IVA or SVA Testing (not applicable for cars 10 years or older) and/or MOT
  • All DVLA paperwork and registration handled
  • 6 months road tax
  • Registration plates
  • Full days valet detail and preparation prior to collection

How much is your fee?
The BHP fee is a fixed fee and is based on the value of the vehicle.

CIF From CIF To Our Fee
¥0 ¥500,000 £500
¥500,000 ¥750,000 £600
¥750,000 ¥1,000,000 £700
¥1,000,000 ¥1,400,000 £800
¥1,400,000 ¥1,800,000 £950
¥1,800,000 ¥2,300,000 £1200
¥2,300,000 ¥3,000,000 £1400
¥3,000,000 ¥4,000,000 £1600
¥4,000,000 ¥5,000,000 £1800
¥5,000,000 ¥6,000,000 £2100
¥6,000,000 ¥7,000,000 £2400
¥7,000,000 ¥8,000,000 £2700
¥8,000,000+ £3000

Do you offer Finance?
BHP are proud to now offer finance through our partner, Pegasus.

To find out more, visit our Finance page.


Buying Parts from BHP

The prices keep changing!
All products quoted are running off live currency rates for the £ against the ¥. The current rate is £1 = 139. This is the trade rate given to us by our transfer partner Azimo.

This updates every hour and can move prices on £100+ products by a few £pound if the movement in rate is more than a few points.

You can track the £ against the ¥ by using our Yen Watch tool.


When do I pay for my order?
Once you have submitted your parts request you'll receive either a Whatsapp message or an email with a breakdown of the cost and a rough lead time. This may take 1-2 days. If you are happy with the price you will be issued an order number.

Your order is now live on our system and you can now make payment via PayPal. Sign in and access My Account to view all orders and their payment status.


How can I pay for my order?
Payment can be made online via PayPal. If you wish to pay via BACS/Transfer please get in touch.


How do you ship parts from Japan?
The majority of the parts are shipped via commercial air freight. This takes 4-5 days from shipment including clearance in the UK. Once it clears customs it takes another day to arrive with us and we aim to ship all orders the same day or at least book them in with the courier for next day collection.

Larger freight (such as bumpers, large wings etc) are shipped via air freight but are shipped once we have an efficient shipment in place. This is the only way to ship larger items by air and is cheaper than shipping 1 bumper or engine at a time.


Is there any extra to pay like customs?
Goods shipped within the European Union are not subject to further taxation. We only ship within the UK, EU and several European countries not within the EU.


How often do parts ship from Japan?
A single air freight leaves twice a month from Osaka. This can vary in size from just several boxes to 3 to 4 air crates depending on the volume of orders ready to ship.


How do I know my parts are genuine?
BHP Imports has been trading on premium reputation since 2005. We aren't interested in replicas, copies or counterfeit products made in China.

We've been around since the boom of the Japanese tuning industry and culture going back to the late 90s. We aren't going to risk our reputation and love of these parts by selling out and selling copies.

All parts from Japan (the only products not sourced in Japan are Recaro seats supplied by Recaro UK) are supplied by the manufacturers or official distributors of that brand.


I've seen a part in Japan you don't sell, can you source it for me?
Absolutely. Send us the website address and/or direct link to that part and we'll do the leg work to purchase the part at wholesale price in Japan and add the part to our online store.


I've seen a part on eBay that looks similar but is a lot cheaper, how come?
If a part listed on our store is hugely more expensive than another supplier or eBay it may be a mistake our end but it may also be that the part you are looking at is either a) used or b) replica.

eBay is swamped with replica goods and it can be very difficult to determine what is replica and what is authentic. If in doubt, get in touch and we'll be happy to help.


Do these parts come with any warranty?
Only parts fitted by an experienced fitter carry a warranty. This warranty is subject to our descretion. Fitting a set of aftermarket wheels and going off-roading would invalidate the warranty as would fitting a BRIDE fixed bucket seat to cheap ebay rails.

We do our best to advise customers on the best products for their application, if you have any questions about our products or warranty, please get in touch.


Can I use aftermarket parts on the road?
All aftermarket products are sold for off-road use only. All performance modifications and installations are at the customers own risk. BHP Imports LLC hold no responsibility either implied or otherwise for mechanical, electrical or other failure when using any aftermarket performance products. Items sold for off-road use only may be illegal in many countries and are intended for racing vehicles which may never be used on a public road.

By purchasing any aftermarket performance product, the customer takes full responsibility for any use, and/or misuse of the product and agrees that BHP Imports LLC holds no responsibility for any consequences, legal, or other, of such use and/or misuse.


Do you supply replica parts?
BHP Imports has a proud and ethical history of only ever selling authentic and genuine products from the top brands and manufacturers. We have never sold an illegal copy of any product. We urge all our site users and customers to understand the damage done by replicas, copies and replica products.

Companies that invest into new product development (NPD) for our cars do so in order to improve your driving experience. Without these companies championing improvement, we'd simply have no aftermarket scene!

But these companies face some real challenges - the global credit crunch limits capital they can draw from, raw material costs are only going up and raw materials are being used extensively by other industries - placing limitations on what can be produced and when they can be produced. But a far greater threat exists - illegal styled, replica or themed parts which either garnish from a brands good name or copy directly a brands products.

Whilst capital and raw materials can be found elsewhere, illegal products have the power to completely collapse a brand on their own.

Research and Development costs money, Quality Assurance costs money, ISO9001/14001 costs money. Copying a product costs nothing.


Can I return a product?
Every non-stock item is considered special order. Any return of a special order product is at our descretion.

Stock items can be returned under the following rules:

  • All returns are subject to a 15% re-stocking fee.
  • All returns must be approved prior to return.
  • All return requests must be sent to us within 14 days of receiving your order.
  • All returns MUST be sent back to us within 5 days of receiving your return approval.
  • Returned items must be in brand new condition, no marks or signs of attempted install.
  • Shipping fees are non-refundable.

There has been a delay by the manufacturer?
We do our best to mitigate typical importing delays. Please consider that due to International time differences, holidays, bank closures, parts being made to order, weekends, staff illnesses, race meets, events, shows, Customs clearance and inspections, order-rerouting, freight schedules, freight space, lead-times, manufacturing errors and other unforeseen delays that orders can be held up at any stage of the process.

Annual delays (where orders attract a 1-2 week delay or greater) include Christmas / New Years, Summer Holidays (Japan) and Golden Holidays. Extra consideration to order delays should be factored in when ordering at these times. Check both the Japanese holiday schedule if in doubt. Tokyo Auto Salon normally attract a 2-3 week delay in orders annually.


VIN Check

How do I start a VIN Check search?
Simply enter the vehicle chassis number on the Vin Check page to start your search. If the chassis number is found, you can choose either the Standard Comprehensive Vin Check or the Standard plus Auction Sheet Translation.


Ok, how do I pay?
Upon adding the Vin Check to your cart, proceed to the checkout and then complete payment via PayPal by accessing My Orders in My Account.


How long does it take to receive the result?
After payment completition, it can take up to 24 hours for the report to be compiled.


I am concerned I have bought a lemon with unclear history in Japan, will this report confirm this?
The Vin Check provides information about the vehicle's title, registration and usage history. Each report displays the results of our comprehensive search for salvage or scrap vehicles; damage from hail, flood or fire; mileage discrepancies or odometer rollback; and market values. It also looks for vehicles designated as rentals, taxis or fleet usage; abandoned or forfeited vehicles; records of theft; manufacturer recalls, accident damage and more. It may not provide information on every accident in which a vehicle may have been involved. However, major accidents that have involved insurance companies or major repairers are listed.


Where does the data come from?
Information provided in a Vin Check comes from various data sources. These include: Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT), car manufacturers, used car auctions, salvage car auctions, insurance companies, auto dealers, inspection sites and several state agencies.


What does "No Records Found" mean?
"No Records Found" indicates that no information in that category at that particular point in time. This could mean that we have not yet received that data or it could be an indication of no problem at all. Vehicles that most often show up as "No Records Found" are newer, so we may not yet have received any information for that vehicle.


I don't know my Chassis Number, can I buy a Vin Check report?
No, it is not possible. To purchase a Vin Check you need to provide the correct chassis number.


Can I use my Vin Check Report as evidence in a court of law?
Probably not. The purpose of the Vin Check Report is to assist buyers in making informed decisions when purchasing a used car and to allow sellers to demonstrate transparency and build confidence in the buying process. Since we cannot guarantee or certify the accuracy of data listed on the report, it may have very limited value in a court of law.