Even some of the best car dealers in New Zealand offer Japanese imported cars. Think Toyota and Nissan, for example. Perhaps you’re one of those who believe Japanese goods mean quality, but can you say the same thing with vehicles? It turns out the answer is a big YES.

What Are These Japanese Cars?

Used Japanese vehicles in New Zealand can come from two sources. One, they might be new units sold in Kiwi country but are now back in the market after a period of use. Second, these are grey imports, which means they are already pre-owned vehicles from Japan.

Now, why would the Japanese sell their vehicles in the first place? One of the reasons is inspection. Also known as shaken, it is a biennial inspection for cars. The purpose is to ensure it is safe to be on the road, and it didn’t undergo any illegal modification.

The Japanese can bring their vehicles to the Land Transport Bureau at least a month before the expiry date. Most, though, tend to let the authorized car dealers and service garages do the work.

This is where the problem comes in. These shops can maintain and inspect your vehicle on time, but the costs can be insane. It can be as high as 200,000 yen due to many possibly unnecessary expenses.

The costs can increase the older the vehicle is. For many Japanese car owners, buying a new one sounds a more sensible option than keeping the car for a decade. Toll fees are just as expensive. Expressway tolls can cost as high as 16,000 yen for 9 hours of driving from Tokyo to Hiroshima or 5,800 yen between Sendai and Morioka.

Japan also has an extensive and well-operated mass transit system. Their trains and buses arrive on the dot. Operators can adjust their schedules during rush hours. They can buy or rent a bike to commute.

Are These Safe Cars?

family car

It’s hard to rely on online lists for the top reliable vehicles in New Zealand. The choices can be subjective. Almost always, however, they include Japanese models such as from companies like Toyota and Nissan.

One of the essential concepts now adopted by many manufacturing companies (not only automotive makers) is the Toyota Production System (TPS) with the following pillars:

  • Continuous improvement
  • Respect for people

In constant growth, the company focuses on lean manufacturing. It uses technology or innovation to hasten production while minimizing or avoiding errors. It also popularised kaizen, both a philosophy and a practice to eliminate waste.

Employees will stop their production lines whenever errors happen. They will then work together with their supervisors to correct them and avoid the mistake from happening again. This practice also fits their second pillar, which is respect for people. It emphasizes teamwork and respect.

Muda also helps keep Japanese cars cheaper than American and European vehicles. It avoids wastage of resources, from materials to labor. It champions just-in-time production, so the business can keep its inventory costs low.

Not all Japanese cars are perfect, but you’re less likely to experience buyer’s remorse with them.