importing cars from japan to australia in melbourne

The ‘Import Vehicle’ phrase might not be something that’s uncommonly heard off, but what’s the true meaning of it?

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What is an Imported Vehicle?

toyota estima inside

Overseas car manufacturers, in particular Japan who have several brands such as Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Mazda and Mitsubishi, usually produce and market to their own domestic buyers. In the same factories, they also produce cars for countries outside of Japan. Having their own network of dealerships for the Australian market to sell these cars brand new straight from the manufacturing plant, these cars are referred to as ‘Australian Delivered’.

So how does an Australian Delivered vehicle, even thou manufactured overseas, differ from an Imported vehicle? or what are Japanese car imports ? Imported vehicles are cars which have been sold new in Japan, used, and then resold to countries outside of Japan. Usually they are either purchased second-hand from auctions, car dealers, or private owners in Japan, then shipped to Australia and the rest of the world for buyers – like you.

A perfect example of such a scenario: Toyota Estima is a better quality with high Specification Vehicle made for the Japanese domestic market compared to the Australian Delivered Toyota Tarago.


Why consider Japanese car imports ?

Truth be told, it’s not all about saving money, but also the ability to own a Special and Enthusiast Vehicle.

Another advantage to keep in mind is the superior quality the Japanese vehicle is when compared to its Australian delivered counterpart, with lower mileage, higher specification, and bodywork that is generally in great condition.

But, you may ask, do imports conform to the same standards of safety as those manufactured in Australia.

All vehicles need to comply according to The Australian Design Rules (ADRs). ADRs for motor vehicles and trailers are the National Standards and a standard vehicle is one that complies with all of the applicable ADRs. An identification plate fitted with the approval of the Administrator indicates that a vehicle is a standard vehicle that meets these requirements.


Can we guarantee a quality vehicle when we importing a car from Japan with Glam Imports?

All vehicles imported by Glam Imports undergo a comprehensive quality inspection which is done by our supplier in Japan.

Each vehicle is checked closely against the details provided in the auction documentation.

This includes the vehicle’s condition, features, options and any existing damage the vehicle may have.

Each vehicle is photographed to ensure that they are exactly as described when they reach our premises.

Photographs may be shown to the client once the vehicle has been purchased in Japan, and if they have placed an order and a deposit has been paid.

Each client is supplied with a copy of the auction documentation, which shows the vehicle grading.

In order to convey the exact condition of the vehicle at the time of purchase, the following Japanese grading system is used.


Japanese Vehicle Grading System

japanese vehicle grading system

8.0  New car
7.0  New car registered
5.0  As new condition
4.5  Excellent condition
4.0  Excellent condition needs minor
3.5  Good condition requires some

3.0 Average condition requires repairs
2.5 Average condition requires
      extensive repairs
2.0 Below average condition
1.0 Modified vehicle below average
RA Minor accident well repaired
A or 0.0 Accident vehicle

What about Parts, Servicing and Repairs?

Japanese car manufacturers use identical parts in various models.

A Toyota Estima made for the Japanese domestic market and the Australian delivered Toyota Tarago share a lot of similarities, such as engine, transmission and most of the serviceable parts.

Another example is the Nissan Skyline V36 made for Japanese domestic market and the Australian delivered Nissan 370Z, sharing the same engine, transmission and most of the serviceable parts are identical as well.

There are also several Import vehicle wreckers, new parts sellers and import vehicle specialist service centres available in every state.

If you acquire our services or parts directly from us, we provide them at competitive prices, and in an event of us unable to supply, we’ll advice or direct you in the right direction.

Our years of experience and specialising on specific models will make troubleshooting of any mechanical issue a breeze.

How can I get Finance?

Finance is available at low rates which can be arranged with our Finance Brokers. Finance is also available for people
with bad credit history.

Don’t hesitate to contact us and we will guide you through this process.

Step by step process of importing in a glance

Let’s look at how the vehicles will be located in Japan: Our staff in Japan isconstantly searching for the finest vehicles at auctions, dealers and private sales. Once they have located the vehicles, our staff thoroughly inspect them.

Once purchased, the vehicles have to be transported to our remote location where they are detailed and prepared for export delivery.

Vehicles are then required to be de-registered, and documentation prepared which will allow shipment to Australia.

As soon as the vehicles are shipped and arrives in Australia, cleared by customs, we’re able to transport the vehicle to our location, which will then go through our compliance process, according to the Australian Design Rules (ADR’s) and State
and Territory regulations.

After the compliance stage, the vehicle is then plated with a Compliance plate (Used Import Plate) and the Australian VIN number (stamped), the final stage is the registration with our local road authorities (VicRoads for Melbourne).

By not having expensive premises in the CBD, we operate from premises in outer suburbs of Melbourne, and with keeping our expenses low, we are able to pass on the savings to the end buyer with ‘value for money’ vehicles at great prices.

Also keep in mind that there is no substitute for quality either. Here at Glam, our friendly staff members will be happy to assist you with all your questions.

Our Mission is to provide integrity, honesty and quality service for our customers.

Import Options

Registered Automotive Workshop Scheme

This scheme allows for the importation and supply to the market of used vehicles.
Approved Registered Automotive Workshops (RAWs) import, modify and plate used vehicles in accordance with concessional standards.

Specialist and Enthusiast Vehicle Register (SEVS)

Listing on the Register of Specialist and Enthusiast Vehicles means that vehicles can be imported into Australia under the Low Volume Vehicles Scheme and the Registered Automotive Workshop Scheme.

Glam groups Pty Ltd, Trading as Glam Compliance Australia, is RAW that can comply most of the Demand Vehicles on the SEVS.

japan toyota estima

Personal Import Option

This option allows migrants settling in Australia or expatriate Australian citizens returning permanently to Australia after a long period overseas, to bring their personal vehicle with them as long as it has been owned, and used overseas for a minimum of 12-month period.

With our years of experience and Engineering Knowledge, we can make any Personal Import to comply, while others can’t.

Vehicles Manufactured 15 years old Option (15 year Rule)

This option as ceased to exist, Ended in May 2005 with the change of this rule, has allowed the option for the importation of road vehicles manufactured before 1 January 1989.

Vehicles Manufactured before 1989 Option (Rolling 15 year rule)

This option allows for the importation of road vehicles manufactured before 1 January 1989. This option is designed to cater for the importation of older enthusiast, classic or historic vehicles.

This option will finish soon as New Road Vehicle Standards Legislation approves in the Parliament of Australia in coming days.

Here is the list of approved vehicles for import Australia.

With our professional and expertise with importing and complying, while this import option is still possible, we are able to take advantage till it’s no longer available.

Vehicles Manufactured 25 years old Option (25 year Rule)
(Rolling, Vehicles Manufactured before 1989 Option)

This option allows for the importation of road vehicles manufactured 25 years old (month / year at the time of import approval application). This option is designed to cater for the importation of older enthusiast, classic, historic vehicles including motorcycles, but not for buses, trucks or commercial vehicles. Left hand drive cars are eligible.

This option will be available soon as new Road Vehicle Standards Legislation approves in the Parliament of Australia in coming days. Already passed in the Lower House.

With our professional and expertise with importing and complying, we are ready as soon as the above import option becomes available.

NB: The import options have been designed to allow importation outside of commercial certification arrangements. The options are generally focused on the importation of individual, ‘one-off’ vehicles.

overview of all steps involved in importing a
vehicle into Australia. This process involves a number of government agencies.


Main things you need to consider before importing a vehicle to Australia from Japan

  • Is the vehicle Eligible to enter Australia?
  • Which import option can you apply under?
  • What costs are involved? (eg shipping, storage, delivery, permit application, taxes, Customs duties, cleaning for quarantine purposes, asbestos testing/removal, quarantine inspection costs modification costs, State or Territory registration and insurance requirements, etc)
  • What are the time frames involved for getting the permit and other necessary arrangements?
  • What documentation do you need?
  • What are the requirements for each government agency?
  • Do you need to use a broker?
  • Will you need to have modifications done to meet Australian standards?
  • What are the risks involved with importing a vehicle?


Apply for a vehicle import approval

  • Some vehicles may not be able to be imported into Australia and will not be issued with a Vehicle Import Approval.
  • There may not be an import option that will suit every person or vehicle in every particular circumstance.
  • The issuing of a Vehicle Import Approval may be subject to certain conditions.These conditions will be made clear when the Vehicle Import Approval is granted and may be unique to the particular vehicle. Breaching any stated conditions is an offence. Offenders may be prosecuted and fined or have their import approval revoked.
  • Do not import a vehicle into Australia before obtaining a vehicle import approval
  • If you ship your vehicle without an Import Approval, your vehicle may be held in bonded storage and you may incur further costs including storage fees.
  • The importation of a road vehicle (that is nonstandard or does not have an identification plate) without a vehicle import approval is prohibited under the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989. It is an offence with a maximum penalty of 120 penalty units (refer to the Crimes Act 1914 Section 4 for current penalty unit values).
  • The Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989 (the Act) and Motor Vehicle Standards Regulations 1989 (the Regulations) make it an offence to import, sell or present new or used imported vehicles to the Australian market for the first time unless they meet the National Standards, except in circumstances where an exemption has been granted by the Administrator of Vehicle Standards (the Administrator).
  • Government agency Involved: Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities



Arrange shipping of vehicle

  • Arrange and coordinate a Freight Forwarding company in the country of export.
  • Before the shipment, make sure the car is steam cleaned inside and out to remove any materials that may cause a quarantine issue.
  • The A/C equipment and the whole consignment should not contained any restricted gases or it has been degassed and comply with all gas import requirements under Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act 1989 (
  • New Government regulations of importation asbestos containing material (eg: Brake Pads) (ACM) into Australia is prohibited pursuant to Regulation 4C of the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956.
  • Arrange all shipping methods including Marine Insurance via roll on / roll off, consolidated or dedicated container.
  • Government Agencies Involved: Department of the Environment and Energy, Department of Agriculture and Water Resources and Department of Home Affairs


Get Customs clearance

  • Advice Customs Brokers to arrange clearance
  • Lodge an import declaration
  • Pay Customs duty
  • Pay Goods & Services Tax (GST)
  • Pay Luxury Car Tax, if required
  • Arrange Transport of the vehicle to the accredited compliance Workshop that can comply with Australian standards, ISO Standards (Some Vehicles only) and for Road registration Requirements.
  • Government agency Involved: Department of Home Affairs


Meet Australian Quarantine requirements

  • Lodge a Quarantine Entry with the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources
  • Arrange inspection appointment
  • Government agency Involved: Department of Agriculture


Meet Import Approval Conditions (Complying the Vehicle)

  • Arrange for modification of the vehicle.
  • Conduct testing and develop evidence of compliance
  • Apply for identification plate approvals or supply to the market approvals if necessary
  • Road registration is completely separate to the Import Approval process and is controlled by State and Territory regulations.
  • Vehicles Need to Comply according to The Australian Design Rules (ADRs). ADRs for motor vehicles and trailers are the National Standards and a standard vehicle is one that complies with all of the applicable ADRs. An identification plate fitted with the approval of the Administrator indicates that a vehicle is a standard vehicle.
  • Vehicles Need to Comply according ISO Standards if necessary.
  • Vehicle is either not subject to a recall to rectify possibly faulty airbags in its country of origin or that the vehicle has had its faulty airbags replaced as part of a recall by its original manufacturer.


Register the vehicle

  • Apply to register the vehicle in the relevant State or Territory
  • Government agencies Involved: State Road and Transport Authorities


Insurance and Warranty

  • There are few Insurance companies offer a competitive rate for Imported Vehicles which we can refer you too, or arrange for you.
  • We can supply Warranty options from 1 to 5 years and Basic (Plan A) to Gold (plan D) including unlimited claims through 3rd party Australia wide recognised Warranty Company. (conditions apply)
for Japanese car imports in Melbourne

With years of experience Importing Vehicles, complying and registration – we have the fastest turnaround time in Australia with great success. By entrusting Glam Groups with your vehicle import process, you will be able to sit back and relax while we use our knowledge, experience and expertise to do the hard work for you.


Honest Company Testimonials – Find out Why They Love our Service

48 reviews on
James Li
James Li
Extremely professional, accomodating. Very happy with the service and highly recommend.
Liam H
Liam H
We recently bought a 2000 Toyota Hiace Super Custom from Glam Groups, newly imported from Japan. We're very pleased with the van and found Mike a pleasure to deal with throughout - honest and dependable and has genuinely gone beyond what we'd expected to ensure that we're comfortable and happy. Would certainly recommend.
Simon Paruit
Simon Paruit
A huge thank you to Glam Group Pty Ltd for assisting me with importing my Toyota Classic from Japan..!! At first I was reluctant to bring the car over not knowing exactly how to go about it, however Glam Groups made it a completely stress free process and one which I would not hesitate in asking Glam Groups to assist me in doing again. Mike was a tremendous help obtaining all the required approvals, guiding us through the shipping process, obtaining the compliance certification and Roadworthy Certification. Once again a big thank you to Glam Group Pty Ltd..!!!
Karen Brooks
Karen Brooks
A shout out to the team and Mike from Glam, I had a Toyota crown Majesta imported from Japan and Mike handled the compliance on it, he made it a minimum fuss service to conduct and deliver and I am very thankful for his service. Cheers Grant Brooks
Ian Lang
Ian Lang
Mike did an expert and trustworthy job to comply my imported Toyota Century. His knowledge and problem-solving is excellent, and he is genuine and friendly. I recommend Glam without hesitation.
Lesley Noble
Lesley Noble
We are so happy with our Toyota Estima that we bought from Mike. He was so easy to deal with and made the whole experience great. Mike is the most honest and reliable salesperson, he goes above and beyond to help, thanks Mike
Mr Porsche
Mr Porsche
Mike is the most honest person you will meet.He is very professional.He complianced my skyline crossover and if i ever buy another import i will only use him for that.Good old fashioned service that is hard to find these days
Andrew Sunderland
Andrew Sunderland
I have had many import cars complied before and found this compliance workshop to be the best . Honest and reliable. I’ll be back again with the next car soon
Sylph Hawkins
Sylph Hawkins
GLAM did the compliance for a car which I imported from over-seas. Mike was very thorough and down-to-earth. He runs a good business that gets the job done at a good price point. Highly recommended
michael drinkwater
michael drinkwater
Very professional and knowledgeable company, with excellent communication and great customer service that goes above and beyond. Highly recommend Mike.

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