Generational Differences

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Which mini trucks can you import from Japan?
Importing used mini trucks from Japan is relatively easy. But each country has different rules on how old the vehicles must be.

Australians can only import first-generation models produced before 1989. Americans can import first and second-generation models. Canadians can import first, second and third-generation models originally sold up to 2001. And lucky British customers can import any models sold up to 2006.

Each generation became larger and more powerful.
Each generation represents the response of carmakers to new Japanese government regulations increasing maximum allowable vehicle size and engine displacement. Most mini trucks closely match these specifications.

Performance, size, weight and refinement generally increased over the years. But maximum load capacity remained the same at 350 kilograms (771.6 pounds). Some people prefer earlier models because they are lighter, simpler and less expensive while still having low mileage in many cases.

 

    • First-generation mini trucks (1976 – 1990)
      Used mini trucks that originally sold between January 1976 and February 1990 can be imported from Japan to the majority of countries around the world. These vehicles are up to 3.2 meters (10.5 feet) long and 1.4 meters (4.6 feet) wide with engines up to 550cc.550cc mini truck engines typically produce around 35 PS, which is more than ample for off-road and city driving because the vehicles are so lightweight and their transmissions are geared low. But power is somewhat lacking at high speeds, especially when traveling uphill.Many models from the mid-to-late 1980s are equipped with a turbocharger or supercharger, for extra power, and options like 4WD and air conditioning.

 

    • Second-generation mini trucks (1990 – 1998)
      Used mini trucks that originally sold between March 1990 and September 1998 can be imported from Japan to most countries except Australia. These vehicles have longer bodies and larger engines than earlier models, with a maximum length of 3.3 meters (10.8 feet) and a maximum displacement of 660cc. The higher 660cc displacement more than compensates for the additional weight of newly required safety equipment and provides noticeably stronger power than first-generation models at high speeds, especially uphill. Regulations limited engine output to 64 PS, perhaps in anticipation of turbo and supercharger advances. But average horsepower for this generation is around 40 PS.

 

    • Third-generation mini trucks (1998 – today)
      Used mini trucks that originally sold from October 1998 onward can be imported to Canada (if sold up to 2001) and the UK (if sold up to 2006). These vehicles are larger, more powerful, safe and comfortable than earlier models and provide more amenities. But they are also heavier and more complex. They are up to 3.4 meters (11.2 feet) long and 1.48 meters (4.8 feet) wide, with much of the additional length used for a required front safety extension. Their engines are the same displacement (660cc) as second-generation engines, but produce more power at around 48 PS.
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  • 5 star review  Mathew at Japan Car Direct has been a HUGE help and continually went above and beyond with assisting me. It was my first time bidding on vehicles at auction and having them shipped to the US. He even helped me arrange a mechanic in Japan to do some work on the Hiace I purchased so that it would arrive in the US in tip top shape and be ready to hit the road. I look forward to doing more business with Mathew in the future and you should too!

    thumb Charles Gross
    8/12/2020

    5 star review  I was totally clueless and was having a really hard time finding someone that I felt I could trust to help me with these auctions. A couple folks recommended Mathew over at JCD and I very reluctantly reached out. Yeah, I have trust issues. Dude put me at ease and really walked me through the whole process. After a couple months I didn’t end up buying a vehicle, but that’s on me. When I changed my direction, Mathew helped me wrap things up and wished me well. I have zero reservations about reaching out to these guys or recommending anyone else to do so. Very helpful, knowledgeable, prompt and everything I needed. You won’t be disappointed.

    thumb largejohn77
    7/17/2020

    5 star review  Ordered an Acty Van with these guys. five star service all the way. everything went perfect!!!. I was so afraid to import a car myself. JCD made it seamless. I would import wit them and only them again and again. Thanks guys!!

    thumb Scott Irby-Ranniar
    7/17/2020
  • 5 star review  Discovered KEI vehicles about a year ago and spent many hours searching the internet in hopes of finding an affordable van state side, to no avail. That is until I sent a message to Mathew at JCD. He was quick to respond, answered way too many of my silly questions, and worked diligently to find the right van for me. He is thorough, clear, and timely. Made the process simple and enjoyable. I am more than excited to work with him again. I highly recommend the service these gentlemen provide.

    thumb Benjamin Ferguson
    7/09/2020

    5 star review  Matt made importing a few mini trucks for our farm a breeze. Super easy to deal with and transparent with all the details involved in bidding and winning auctions, the import process, and everything in between.

    thumb Ben and Maggie O'Brien
    6/30/2020

    5 star review  My truck had been stolen and Matt was helping me bid on mini-trucks to replace it. Of course once we started bidding the truck was recovered, but Matt was upfront and very helpful both getting into and out of our auction based relationship. I would not hesitate to work with JCD again!

    thumb William Gundy
    6/28/2020
  • 5 star review  I worked with Mat and i believe i couldn't have done any better. This was my first time dealing with importing, Mat was so patient and helpful through this purchase. I also feel he got me the best deals, i have since the first purchase made two more and will continue to do business with Mat.

    thumb robert barnowsky
    6/16/2020

    5 star review  I purchased three vehicles from auction with Matt, he made it extremely easy and was available whenever I needed him throughout the entire importing process. This is not the last time I will be dealing with them. I plan to order more vehicles in the near future! If your looking for a trustworthy company to order vehicles through I highly recommend JCD!

    thumb dylan christner
    6/07/2020

    5 star review  Mathew was super helpful if helping me get more info and bid on cars I was interested in.

    thumb Matt Sparkman
    5/16/2020
  • 5 star review  Mathew and the gang were great with helping me with the acquisition of my 1994 Subaru Sambar dump kei truck. I was so excited about getting a truck I was ready to buy just about anything. Matt put the breaks on that and used his experience and knowledge to weed out the potential problems. I use my truck almost daily around our farm moving things and as a work surface. It is great. Mathew and Japan Car Direct helped my sister get a kei truck as well and I have and will continue to recommend them to anyone who has expressed interest in my great little vehicle.

    thumb Eric Amon
    5/12/2020

    5 star review  I purchased a 1994 4wd Suzuki Carry Kei truck through JCD. Yoshi helped me during the process and after nearly 3 months and over 100 emails back and forth between questions and translations of auction sheets I finally decided on a truck. I've now had it for nearly a month and couldn't be happier with the purchase. They are extremely promt with responses and answered all questions I had. Being completely new at the importing process I never felt uneasy with my decision. If I ever decide to import another vehicle I will definitely use them again.

    thumb brandon spaur
    5/06/2020

    5 star review  Excellent service from beginning to end. I registered over the new year holidays and received an automatic out of office response and also still received personal response indicating when auctions resumed. The process takes doing your own due diligence to study the cars you want but the guys at JCD will assist where they can as well.

    thumb Mike Witting
    4/10/2020
  • 5 star review  When I thought about importing a vehicle from Japan, I was a little apprehensive. I read some real horror stories. Once I got in contact with Yoshi, he put me at ease. The entire crew at Japan Car Direct made the process effortless. From translations, to inspections, to the auctions, I felt comfortable with the entire transaction. The hardest thing was waiting for the ship to arrive at port with my new truck. I highly recommend JCD to anyone considering a vehicle import from Japan.

    thumb Doug Uken
    4/08/2020

    5 star review  The entire Team at Japan Car Direct has been incredible at making purchasing a vehicle from Japan quick and effortless. Matt and Yoshiro are extremely friendly, and have performed above and beyond my expectations from start to finish. No matter how many questions you may have, these guys will know all the right answers! If you’re looking for a vehicle from Japan then look no further than Japan Car Direct. 10/10 ⭐'s

    thumb Tanner Whale
    3/10/2020

    5 star review  After ordering my minivan from Mathew and the folks at JCD, I will definetely use them again. Took three months to get the van but I am on the other side of the world. Van arrived in better condition than I expected although battery was dead and gas was extremely low. Other than that, the documents were sent to me promptly and the process of registering was seamless with the supplied documents. Thank you Matt and team and I look forward to working with you in the future!

    thumb Grant Kirby
    1/29/2020

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