Top 5 Best Japanese Car Auctions
Last Updated on July 13, 2022 by E. Lindgren
There are several hundred different Japanese car auctions in Japan moving thousands and thousands of cars through their lots every single day. It can be difficult to know which auctions to go for and which to avoid. To make it easy, we’ll provide the best Japanese car auctions in Japan – all providing excellent inventory, quality, and customer service.
How Does a Japan Car Auction Work?
There are three different types of car auctions in Japan.
- On-site Car Auctions
- Satellite Car Auctions
- Online Car Auctions
The on-site bidding utilizes computer terminals which are pre-set with all the vehicles put for sale. Once the car you’re interested in shows up on the screen you’re interested in, you press a button on the terminal to lay your bid. But you have to be quick, many auctions are over in just seconds – so if you’re not paying attention, chances are you blew your shot.
As a foreigner, the most common is to bid through a third party. They will visit the auction and bid for you after you’ve agreed on how much you are willing to spend. Often, they’ll deal with logistics and paperwork as well.
Satellite Car Auctions
Members can participate in auctions held at on-site vehicle auction sites using a dedicated satellite TV terminal. Members can enter bids directly to the on-site vehicle auction site in addition to setting bid restrictions. Members can also get preliminary information about auction vehicles from their own offices, or use our “Preliminary Inspection Proxy Service” to verify any potential issues with a vehicle.
Online Car Auctions
Online bidding is available at several Japanese auto auctions. Often, you’ll have to join a membership program that gives you access to an “Internet Live” service that lets you participate in real-time auctions over the Internet at locations other than your local on-site vehicle auction site. They can also submit bids in a variety of ways.
Members have access to a number of useful tools to aid in the smooth running of auctions, including a search function for obtaining preliminary inspection information or past market price auction information for a specific vehicle being auctioned at an on-site vehicle auction, as well as a function for managing vehicles they have put up for auction and vehicles they have won.
What kind of car can I get?
The Japanese Car Auctioning business has grown substantially ever since the early 2000s. Today thousands of dealerships have joined together, spread out on hundreds of auctioning sites to purchase and sell cars. This means that there is no shortage of cars. It does not matter if you’re looking for a Nissan Skyline R34 GT-R V-Spec, or a standard Toyota Corolla commuter, you’ll find what you’re looking for.
It is, however, good to know that these auctions all differ in quantity, quality, and amounts of different models offered. The best way to go about is to contact an importer/exporter dealership and tell them what you’re looking for. Once you’ve told them your budget, they will literally do all the hard work for you, from sourcing your car, to winning the bid and dealing with logistics and paperwork.
1. USS Auto Auctions
The absolutely biggest and most impressive Japanese car auction. They were one of the first Auctions in Japan to develop online auctioning through its self-developed system. And has since its founding in the 1980s grown to become the unchallenged champion when it comes to car auctions in Japan.
USS Auto Auctions provides three different types of auctions:
- Regular on-site auctions
- Satellite auctions
- Internet auctions
USS Auctions have most cars. Walking through their lots you will see anything from a widebody Ferrari to a vintage Mercedes SL as well as anything the JDM gods have to offer. It doesn’t matter whether you are looking for an in-your-face 1000bhp Skyline GT-R or a standard 1999 Toyota Corolla, they are more likely to have it than not.
USS Auto Auctions Membership
If you are looking to do any online or satellite bidding, you’ll have to become a member. To do so, you’re required to reside in Japan and provide a certified copy of your residence as well as an official seal registration certificate. Or you’ll go through one of many exporting/importing dealerships. The latter option is mandatory if you do not reside in Japan.
After registering you’ll have access to their intranet which connects all of their 19 sites, here you’ll see cars displayed in real-time, and bidding is done via their own portal.
The upside of becoming a member is that it allows for super-easy and smooth transactions as there is basically no third party involved in the auctioning process.
Advantages of using USS Auctions
- Biggest Japanese Auto Auctions in Japan
- 19 sites nationwide which make them accessible from anywhere in the country
- Over 35% of all Japanese auctions sales are through USS Auto Auctions
- Excellent self-developed satellite/online auctioning system
USS Auctions guarantees their customers a smooth transaction from choosing your vehicle to putting in a winning bid and signing the contract.
2. JAA Car Auctions (Japanese Automobile Auction)
Japanese Automobile Auctions is a relatively large auction, averaging somewhere around 42,500 to 47,500 cars offered every month. This auction company is made up of two large auctions, one which is held in Tokyo (JAA Tokyo) and one of which is held in Kobe (HAA Kobe).
HAA Kobe is known for their more exciting and exotic cars (both JDM and foreign), whereas JAA Tokyo tends to focus more on the Japanese Domestic Market (JDM).
While not as big as USS Auto Auctions, JAA still provides a decent number of cars. Their inventory satisfies most car buyers, you will likely find what you’re looking for unless you’re seeking something really specific.
Advantages of using JAA Auto Auctions
- Great auction for first-time buyers
- Averaging over 45,000 offers each month
- Tends to have unique and quirky cars on their lots
3. TAA Car Auctions (Toyota Auto Auctions)
TAA, also known as Toyota Auto Auctions is another large player in the auction scene. TAA was actually the first auto auction in Japan, appearing for the first time in 1967. Back then it had three locations, today they’ve expanded to 10 different locations.
TAA car auctions were actually the first Japanese Car Auction to have a fully developed online auctioning system. By 1999, any TAA members had the possibility to attend and bid live from their own computers.
Advantages of using TAA Car Auctions
- Over 10 auction locations
- Strict grading standards
- Great online bidding system
- If you are looking to bid on a specific grade, TAA has specialized locations for higher graded cars
4. JU Car Auctions (Japan Used Car Dealers’ Association)
Instead of acting as one legal entity, JU Car Auctions is a network of several different auctions. While they all belong under the same name JU (Japan Used Car Dealers’ Association) they mostly act independently. Within this JU Association, there are about 10,000 Used Japanese Car Dealerships.
JU Auto Auctions have 23 different auction sites, and thanks to the large community within JU, they are able to offer over 27,000 cars every week. Every car sold is thoroughly inspected, and all findings, damages, quality, and so on are reported within the auction.
Advantages of using JU Car Auctions
- Large Inventory of cars thanks to over 10,000 dealerships acting under the JU name.
- Many sites are very accessible from anywhere in Japan.
- Great transparency on the cars being sold
- Over 100,000 car offerings every month.
5. Aucnet Car Auctions
The only auction on this list with no physical location. Aucnet Car Auctions specializes in satellite and online auctioning. Due to them not being restricted by a location, they have instead put a lot of effort into the relationship with dealerships.
But as the customers are not able to see the cars in real life, Aucnet has had to ensure excellent transparency. Their policies circle around providing exceptional reliability of the information, being subject to considerable expertise in operations, as well as easy-to-use systems for their customers.
Advantages of using Aucnet Car Auctions
- Not limited to any location
- Have access to many dealerships, allowing them to find very specific cars for their customers
- Has great feedback from customers regarding: quality, purchase process, as well as inventory
- Continuously improving their system, allowing for easier transactions