Japan is by far the biggest source of right hand drive export cars but is often considered the most intimidating due to language barriers. As experienced car importers to Africa, our team at MHH International are very familiar with reading the Japanese Car Auction Sheet. This blog explains the details of the key parts of each section of the sheet to help you understand what you are reading and what to look out for when you are choosing which Japanese auction car to buy.

Japanese Auction Sheet Key

We have provided the three most common types of auction sheets which we recommend you refer to as we walk through the 12 key points to note.

We have created a key to help interpret each sheet:

Japanese Auction Sheet Key
No 1 - month of registration

Month of registration

The Japanese years are counted from the numbers of years that the current Emperor has been in position. The table below explains how their years match up with the Western calendar. You should also be able to read the month of registration. In this Example 1 you will see the car is 11 so the month was November. Quite often, as the duty payable for imports is dependent on the month of registration, if the month is not shown, you ask your agent to confirm the month before deciding to purchase the car.

Registration years for Japanese Cars
No 2 - Vehicle chassis code

Chassis code

The chassis code will tell you what the model of the car is and whether it is 2 wheel drive or 4 wheel drive. The real benefit of knowing this is if you are comparing cars which appear to be the same then they need to have the same chassis code. If they are different then there is a fundamental difference between the two cars you are comparing. It is easier to ask your dealer for this information. If you want to do it yourself, then you should look at a website such as goo-net exchange. In their specification section shows significant amount of data on the cars supplied from Japan in the past 10 years.

No 3 - Current mileage in KMS

Current mileage in KMs

This is self explanatory. Be sure you are buying from a supplier who guarantees that the mileage is correct.

No 4 - Exterior condition grade

Exterior Condition Report.

The exterior grades are clearly defined from 0 to 6 with 6 being the best. The full breakdown for this is provided in our Condition report guide.

Exterior condition grades for Japanese Auction Cars
No 5 - Interior condition rating.

Interior Condition Rating.

Interior ratings are given from A too E with A being the best. These are explained in more detail in our Condition report guide.

Interior grades for Japanese auction sheets
2WD or 4 WD

2WD or 4WD

This is not always written on the sheet. So we recommend that you ask you supplier for this information or look at Goo-net exchange to check the details against the chassis code that you have.

No 7 - model trim

Model / Trim number

This will show you the trim level of the car eg. SE or HSE. Again the code can be deciphered by comparing it with the details on Goo-net as well ask asking your supplier.

No 8 - Gearbox


Most cars from Japan are Automatic. So you should expect to see AT written. If the car is manual then you will read MT. We would strongly recommend that if you see anything else written on the sheet other than AT o MT, you must check with your supplier as they have many other ways of writing the transmission.

No 9 - Air Conditioning

Air conditioning

Although you should expect a car from Japan to have air conditioning, it is different to climate control. If it is not clear, then be sure to check.

No 10 - engine size

Engine Size

This is very straight forward and is written in the way you would expect to see it.

No 11 - No of seats.

Number of seats

This is often left blank, so we recommend that you look carefully at the photographs especially if you are looking for a third row of seats and if that doesn’t help, then be sure you ask your supplier for confirmation.

Exterior condition report

Exterior condition report

As we mentioned before, each car is given a grade for the interior and exterior condition of the car. Exterior grading ranges from 1 too S and the interior ranges from A too D. There are many more annotations which may be written on the condition report. Specifying a dent or a scratch. For a detailed explanation of condition report please read the diagram below

Key for exterior damage on Japanese cars

No 13 - key specification of the car

No 13 - key specification of the car

The information is always in Japanese. If it is a digital report (rather than hand written) you can find that Google translate will help to decode the information for you. You should expect to read details about the key features of the car: PS = power steering, PW = power windows, SR = sunroof.

It is also really helpful to know about the inspector’s notes which are provided on the Japanese Auction Sheet below the Kms. These are easily translated using Google translate on your phone. An inspector will typically write details such as defects they have noticed. So it’s well worth the effort finding out what they have mentioned.

Japanese car auction sheet - inspectors notes

Each car should come with an auction sheet and a condition report. If these documents are missing or incomplete, we recommend that you find out the information before purchasing a car. Failing to follow up on these omissions can soon be a costly mistake. If your supplier cannot share the information you would be wise to find a supplier who can be more helpful.

The condition reports are also extremely helpful and will provide you with any details about the wear and damage that has happened. In our explanation of the condition reports, we look into these in more detail to help you understand whether your car has had minor scratches or serious damage.

At MHH Japanese Cars all our new and used Japanese cars have condition reports and auction sheets (where applicable) so you can easily see the information you need to make your decision. To find out more about buying and importing a UK or Japanese car, contact the team and we’ll be really happy to help you.

Find out about importing your next car with the Japanese car import specialists.