Frequently Asked Questions

Because we've probably been asked a hundred times...

Short answer, yes.

Depending on the year, make, model, and estimated value of your vehicle, we may accept a trade toward something in our inventory. Much like a typical car lot, the value of your vehicle is going to be more in line with the “trade in” value versus the “retail” or “private party” value. After a value is determined, the cash difference will be discussed and agreed upon before trading.

We accept most makes and models of vehicles based on the following criteria:
  • It is in good shape.
    • Rust free. 
    • Decent paint.
    • Decent interior. 
    • Mechanically sound.
  • It is something desirable.
    • We are not looking for PT Cruisers or a Pontiac Montana
      • Yes, someone tried to trade a Pontiac Montana.
    • Bonus if the car is sporty or JDM.

If we are not local to you to inspect the vehicle ourselves, then the only real way to do this is by having your vehicle inspected and appraised. Usually, the inspection involves having the car looked over, cosmetically and mechanically, by certified car appraisers. If you are interested in doing this, then contact us about finding a certified appraiser in your area.

The value in the current market is not decided upon by us.

Most of the vehicles that we purchase and import are not marked up as much as you would think. Popular JDM vehicles are getting more and more expensive every single day. On top of the increased cost of purchasing these vehicles, they are becoming harder to actually find in good, rust free, shape. Also, the shipping stateside and associated fees can be expensive.

All of us at Ronin Imports having either lived in, or currently live in, Japan. We have people on the ground that locate, inspect, purchase, and ship our vehicles which cuts out the middle man. Our network of contacts helps us narrow the spotlight and bring focus to our location efforts from private sellers. We also go to the majority of the major auctions in Japan when the upcoming vehicles look promising.

Short answer, yes.

We can locate and purchase a car for you, but we require a deposit up front. The amount of the deposit can vary, but you can automatically assume it is going to be around half of the value of the vehicle that you would like for us to locate.

The main reason is that 95% of our correspondence with potential buyers turns up empty. In short, we get quite a few dreamers that would love to own a unique import vehicle but do not have money or credit to fulfill their dream.

Second, many of the vehicles that we locate are usually gone within 24-48 hours. If you decide that you want the car based upon the pictures and information that we supply, then we need to secure the sale with the owner.

There is also the possibility of finding your car at the Japanese auctions which falls in line with the second point. If we locate the car through auction sheets, travel to the auctions, and inspect the car for you, then we need to have some assurance from you (the deposit) that you actually want the car if we bid on it. We can lose our ability to bid on cars at the auctions if we bid and do not pay.

The depth of our vehicle inspections are mostly dependent upon where the vehicle is located.

Vehicles from the auctions get looked over top to bottom for condition, road worthiness, and serviceability. This includes, but is not limited to, damage, previously repaired damage, signs of owner neglect, and rust. More often then not, there is no way to check auction vehicles for drivability because you are not able to test drive them before it is purchased.

Vehicles from private sellers get the same treatment as vehicles from the auction, with the exception being, of course, that we can drive them. They get put through the paces so that you, or us here at Ronin Imports, do not end up with any surprises once the vehicle makes it’s way stateside.

While we do not offer in-house financing, we have searched for, and located, a few companies that work with the older vehicles that we offer. Our finance page will be fully populated soon – check back soon!

Short answer, no. Assuming that you have a good credit score, pre-approvals are difficult because the year, condition, and value of older JDM vehicles can vary greatly.

First and foremost, before you take the time to secure financing, you may first want to know the general area where your credit score is sitting. The cutoff point is around 650. If your credit score is under 650 then it may be extremely difficult for you to get financed.

There is a lot more risk with financing an older vehicle then a brand new vehicle. If you wreck an older vehicle then there could be potential issues with insurance companies that refuse to pay out for an older car. Also, it is assumed that someone that wrecks or mechanically destroys an older vehicle is more likely to stop paying payments.

Long story short – the financing companies are trying to minimize risk.

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