The Times They are A Changin’

Car Import times changing

Whew, we’ve hardly had a chance to catch our breath the last 12 months.

We have been so busy sourcing cars it has simply left no time for Blogging or FB.

Time then perhaps for a quick catch up in between the avalanche of auction inspections, bidding, emails, phone calls and SMS !

Here are our quick thoughts on the last year and what we expect in the next year…

The global pandemic triggered an unprecedented demand for cars and import volume is now something like 4X what it was in 2019.

The AUD to JPY exchange rate has been hovering around the best levels in the last 2 years making it more attractive to import.

At the same time demand has been increasing the prices of virtually all cars as people look for other things to do with their spare time… and cash.

Collector car prices have – in a word – gone BONKERS.

If you’ve not noticed what’s going on in the world here are two related articles you can catch up with:

In case you have been living under a rock…

DEAD Aust Imports – R34, Supra, RX-7, Silvia & others

The demand for classic cars continues to rise strongly with no end in sight. These older cars are becoming very difficult to source in suitable condition for our clients and the prices continue to rise week after week.

As a result over the last 12 months we progressively stopped taking orders for most classic models. That now includes ALL Skyline GT-R’s.

That’s right, after specialising in these cars for over 20 years we no longer source any GT-R’s. At all. Sorry, we’re done, and time to move on !

This also includes the R35 GT-R which we no longer consider viable based on the cost to import a good quality example versus local Aust pricing.

What can we say – the market made us do it.

In terms of the import system itself, the sudden high import volume has pushed the vehicle import industry to the limits with shipping, Port clearance and compliance all showing the strain and taking longer than before.

Even the super-efficient Japanese have been struggling to handle the export volume. Port yards there are overflowing with cars and pre-cleaning services have been unable to keep up since January 2021.

This has resulted in delays in Aust port clearances across Australia since March 2021, due to local cleaning facilities struggling to deal with more cars than they can handle.

Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane Ports have been worst affected.

The situation is slowly improving so we hope to see the return of normal shipping and Port clearance timeframes in coming months.

Global shipping prices have also increased, although this has had a relatively small (and hardly noticeable impact) on the total import cost from Japan to Australia.

The future of Aust car imports from here ?

We are right in the middle of the most consequential change to the vehicle import regulations Aust has ever seen.

The Govt. implementation since 2019 has been delayed and messy, with limited information provided about future changes and transitions making it difficult to plan ahead or to provide meaningful updates.

Make no mistake though, the old SEVS approvals will all end in the next 12 months

What does that actually mean ?

Most notable is that regular petrol and diesel people movers are finished including Delica, Elgrand, Estima, as well as quirky cars like the Nissan Cube that were only approved on the basis of unusual design features.

The new SEVS does not allow the import of these models.

The last import approvals will be issued for old SEVS models on 31 March 2022 and the compliance plate must be fitted by 30 June 2022.

So if you want one of these safely imported before the deadline (and allowing for import delays) you should really have bought it in Japan no later than Dec 2021.

We expect this to trigger a rush of last-minute panic buying which will push up prices.

Read our full SEVS update for more…

To make things more interesting, at the same time we have the biggest shift in car technology in 100 years and a global pandemic which has changed buying habits for the whole world almost overnight.

Unprecedented !

Yes, we have a new rolling 25 Year Rule that allows us to import any classic models older than 25 years, but in reality Aust took so long to implement it (5+ years) that by the time it was available for Aust the USA had beat us to it by a couple of years with their own 25 Year Rule and most of the older cars were already too expensive to import.

The 25 Year Rule is great for a few classic models, but given the prices now of all old cars it means this option is only viable for serious collectors – these cars are definitely not daily drivers.

From where we sit, the market shift to hybrid electric cars is well under way – these already form the bulk of the cars we source on a day to day basis.

Demand is strong for the import of hybrid people movers such as the Estima, Alphard, Vellfire, Voxy, Noah, Esquire, Serena.

Small hybrid hatches and wagons like the Prius PHEV, Honda Fit, Mazda 3 (Axela), Corolla Fielder, Nissan Note e-Power are great options going forward.

Hybrid SUV’s like the Toyota C-HR and Lexus Harrier are also looking popular as prices fall in Japan.

All these models will become significantly cheaper in Japan in coming years with many of the small hybrid car imports dropping into the $10,000 to $15,000 range and hybrid people movers / SUVs into the $15,000 to $25,000 range.

That will be bargain-buying for the wide range of well-optioned and high quality hybrid imports available.

The production of petrol / diesel only cars will completely end in the next 10 to 20 years as car manufacturers respond to the market and Govt. regulations.

Between now and then we will see a continual increase of hybrid / electric models on Australian roads as these become mainstream.

That’s the way of change isn’t it – before we know it anything else will seem odd and out of place…

How direct import works

Research market pricing and availability for any model

Read about the New Vehicle Import Regulations for Australia here

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