Business & Investment

These cars are cute and cheap, and no one else has them — how can I get it?

If you drive your cute, imported Nissan Figaro into a car and coffee meetup, you will be attacked by fans.Meanwhile, the rich man across from you is alone with his Ferrari

Because everyone has already seen the car.

At least, importer Gary Duncan says that after decades of selling these unique foreign cars at dealers in Virginia and Tennessee, many are from Japan.

It’s aesthetics that attracts people to these cars, says Jim Simpson, a car designer and collector who owns and repairs dozens of Japanese cars and has Toyota Sera as a daily driver in the early 1990s. “You can get a car that you can’t find in every corner of the street without spending too much money,” he says.

Unlike German, English, and Italian collections, Japanese imported cars are reliable, easy to maintain, and may use replaceable parts with available US models, says Simpson. .. On top of that, you can drive for years and have fun, or make a profit and sell.

Read again: Do you own one of these cars?It can be a desirable collectible

25 year rule

After 25 years, cars can be imported without meeting US safety and emission standards (with additional restrictions in some states). This opens up a niche market for budget-focused collectors.

But before you buy a nissan

Figaro or adorable Honda Beat Sports Cars, or Suzuki Carry Mini Trucks, you need to know they are small-some are small-there is a handle on the right side and lacks the features we’re used to. Often, air conditioners, etc.

Driving a right-hand drive car on American roads requires some practice, but you’ll soon get used to it, says Simpson. Most of these cars are from the early 90’s, so they come with a manual transmission. That is, you need to shift with your left hand.

Most of the time, these are fun second cars. Many are cheap, but insurance and financing are not easy, and their age and size represent a compromise between safety and comfort.

Related: Still want that classic car?How to make your dreams come true

The charm of “JDM” cars

A popular niche for imported cars is the Japanese domestic market, or JDM for short. In Japan, older cars are undergoing increasingly stringent and restricted testing, effectively encouraging owners to sell them. Many of these cars are still in good condition and have short mileage, attracting American enthusiasts and collectors.

1991 Honda Beat


Steve Ellis, Sales Associate at Toprank International Vehicle Importers in Cypress, California, said JDM fans are Gran Turismo enthusiasts, anime fans (because drawings often include JDM cars), Japanese street racing fans, and ” We are collecting various things from drivers who seek “exclusiveness”.

The super-popular Nissan Skyline, which wasn’t sold in the U.S., was priced in the $ 30,000 range for Duncan Import, but buyers looking to spend less than $ 15,000 can choose from an array of vans, trucks, and sports cars. I did.Limousine-like sedan-like Toyota


Smaller light car

A popular subset of the Japanese market is “light vehicles.” This is an automobile class established to rebuild the Japanese automobile industry after World War II. Light vehicles have a size limit and the engine is limited to only 64 horsepower.

Although not very practical, Motor Trend states that “the class has a huge amount of diversity, innovation, and complete enjoyment.” According to Duncan, work trucks for light vehicles such as the Suzuki Carry are currently particularly popular as they do not need to be filled with modern domestic vehicles.

Still, these little cars are packed with a lot of fun for driving enthusiasts. Many of them are rear-wheel drive, providing better handling and their smaller engines are enthusiastic. “my [Toyota] Serra is fun to drive, “says Simpson.

See also below. I gave my parents a vintage car. They secretly agreed with my brother and decided to remove the upgrade cost from my inheritance. Is it fair?

Purchasing an imported car

If imported or JDM vehicles are attractive, Simpson recommends shopping through an international shipping company or a dealer who knows how to work with customs officers. Other considerations include:

  • Before you buy a car, look for a mechanic in your area who specializes in service and repair for the brand you want.

  • Check if the parts are available for the car you are considering.

  • If you are buying an invisible car sight, Please have it inspected By a local mechanic.

  • JDM vehicles do not have a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), which makes history difficult to track. Instead, ask for a car “auction seat”. This sheet should list aftermarket mods, repaints, accidents and physical injuries.

check out: Due to the very high gas prices, dealers suddenly started selling more of these types of vehicles.

Nissan Skyline GTR R34


Financing and insurance

There are few specialized insurance companies Classic cars and imported cars, Hagati etc. Financing is a little more difficult.

Unlike buying from a traditional car dealer who can easily arrange a loan, you may need to use a hard-to-find personal loan to buy an imported car.And there are some things to consider when buying Apply for a personal loan:

  • Interest rates can be higher than regular car loans, as imported cars are less likely to be valued as collateral. You will get a loan with the strength of your credit and debt picture.

  • Some lenders may want to know the reason for the loan when determining your rate.

  • Try to pre-qualify your loan so you can see what types of rates you are offered.

  • If you think the interest rates you offer are too high, you can save and pay cash for your car.

Details of Nerd Wallet

Philip Reed is writing for Nerd Wallet. Email: Twitter: @AutoReed.

These cars are cute and cheap, and no one else has them — how can I get it? These cars are cute and cheap, and no one else has them — how can I get it?

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