The Ride Comes to a Screeching Halt
In November of 1997, the value of the yen dropped dramatically because of a banking crisis brought about by a Japanese economy that was paying too much for imported goods, and the fall of its own industrial technology export market. In short, Japan was importing great amounts of overpriced goods it couldn't produce on its own and many of its chief exports, such as personal computers and consumer electronics, weren't selling as fast because the rest of the world's technology had caught up. The world didn't have to buy its electronics only from Japan, and that really hurt Japan's economy and the value of its currency.

Consequently, the market for custom vehicles took a nosedive. During this period, it wasn't as easy for Japanese people to qualify for a loan, so they weren't as willing to purchase American automobiles, thus the export market suffered. Most of the players in the broker/exporter game closed up shop or found other, more viable markets.

How It Works
If you are looking to export your truck, there are a couple different ways to do it. By far the easiest way to export your truck is through a reputable vehicle broker. They have connections and contacts with hundreds of dealerships around the world, which increases the chances of selling the truck. All you have to do is submit a couple of photos and your asking price to the broker. They will be able to tell you if the price you're asking falls in the price range of the market overseas. As soon as a dealer shows interest, your broker will probably need you to take more detailed photos of the engine, undercarriage, and paint. Foreign dealers pay a lot of attention to cleanliness, so it's worth spending the time detailing your ride. Once the broker has all the details worked out with the dealer, you'll be given a time and location to drop the truck off. You hand over the title, and the broker will hand you a check and take care of the rest of the details. You don't have to worry about any extra fees that are part of shipping overseas.

There are other ways to have your truck exported for sale. You can list your vehicle on websites, such as eBay Motors or, and try and find a buyer. Once you have a buyer, you need to contact a customs broker or freight forwarder that can handle the extenuating amount of paperwork. Freight forwarders assist you in preparing price quotations by advising on freight costs, port charges, fees, costs of special documentation, insurance costs, and their handling fees. Expect to pay anywhere between 150 to 200 dollars for their processing fees and another 1,100 dollars for roll-on, roll-off shipping. Port charges, consular fees, costs of special documentation, and insurance costs vary between countries. The costs incurred for their services and shipping are a legitimate export cost that should be included in the price charged to the customer.

Don't Get Scammed!
In both cases, there are a couple things you need to do before the truck is sold. You need to make yourself aware of scams that seem to be growing, by leaps and bounds. If you are paid with a cashier's check, make sure it is for the correct amount and not over the agreed amount. Even if it all looks legit, walk it into your bank and tell them where the check came from and what it is for. You don't want to be hassled for fraud, if it is a phony check. Make sure the check clears before you make arrangements with the broker or freight forwarder. When you drop the truck off at the docks for shipment, make sure there is only a quarter tank of gas in the tank. And when the truck is loaded on the ship, make sure to get a bill of lading to show your local state DMV that you have sold your truck and are no longer in possession of it.

Today's Export Market:Is There a Buyer for Your Truck?
Since 1997, the yen has fluctuated between 103 yen per dollar and as high as 143 yen per dollar. Over the past two years, the yen has become stronger with an average about 114 yen per dollar. With the dollar more valuable than the yen, the chances of finding a buyer for your truck are slim. Your best opportunity will be when the yen drops below 100, making it more valuable than the dollar, which will greatly increase your chances of finding a buyer. So, the economic potential for exporting vehicles is there, but the demand has also changed. The Japanese people have followed American trends and music for years, and now that Japan's economy has recovered and exporting has stabilized, they want the bling. Vehicles like Chrysler's 300C Hemi, Hummer's H2 and H3, Escalade, Denali, and basically, anything that has balla status in the U.S. is sought after, overseas. The Japanese don't want stock trucks either. Big wheels, lots of chrome, leather interior with a high-end stereo system, and TVs everywhere is the look of choice.

Autoxport Inc.
U.S. World Direct
Garage Daiban