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Japanese auto auctions are a hugely popular way to buy and sell used cars and other vehicles in Japan. During the peak period of car auctions in Japan, generally between March and April, up to 150,000 vehicles may pass through the Japanese car auction houses.   This period of the year is so busy because the Japanese accounting year ends on March 31.

Most Japanese auto auction sites will want to reduce their stock of vehicles by this date so that they do not have to pay a “car tax”. The amount of vehicles that are up for auction also means that at this time of year Japanese used cars will be fairly cheap.

The auction houses in the country

Japan car auction mapThe auction houses, or auction groups, are located all over the country. Although private individuals cannot bid directly, they can still use Japanese used car auctions by going through dealerships which have an auction membership, such as Provide Cars. This allows people to access information about the cars which the auction house is offering, but limits actual bidding to professionals.

Provide Cars usually attends auctions for Japanese used cars in Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka due to their proximity to Japan’s main ports. However, Japan car auctions take place in locations ranging from Hokkaido to Okinawa. Many use online systems and special auction software.

The four types of Japanese auto auctions

There are four main types of Japanese auto auction, some of which are much smaller than others. At independent company auctions (such as NDAA or Zip), you might see anywhere from 100 to 10,000 vehicles a month. This type of car auction either sells very kind of vehicle or specializes in only one type. Manufacturer or dealer car auctions in Japan are used by car manufactures to sell used vehicles such as trade-ins or ex-rentals.

Auction groups such as the JU Group, the USS Group and the ARAI Group control a large share of the Japanese auto auction market, and are either unions of independent auctioneers, one single company, or one company and its subsidiaries. There are also online auctions which operate mainly by satellite or internet. These either sell used cars that come from their own stock or auction used cars on behalf of other companies. Examples include AUCNET, ASNET and HERO.

The kind of Vehicle sold at car auctions

What kind of cars will be sold at car auctions in Japan? The second-hand vehicles for sale may include off-lease vehicles (vehicles that are returned to a financial institution at the end of a lease term), ex-rental cars, company or fleet cars, repossessed cars, or trade-ins. The class, age and quality of these Japanese used cars varies greatly, so it is important for a buyer to do their research before bidding on a vehicle. However, auctions are still a great place to find Japanese cheap cars that are in good condition.

Cars and other vehicles that are sent to auto auctions are usually sent for the purpose of being sold quickly and without hassle, meaning that dealers will normally set reasonable reserve prices that are still normally below market price.