How to become a JDM importer?

JDM importer

If you are interested in learning how to become a jdm importer, the main thing you’ll need to know about importing Japanese cars from Japan is that it will be challenging. However, this won’t deter some people, and as long as you have the right information and support, you can become one too. Let’s look at what you need to do if you want to legally import Japanese vehicles into your country.

Create a business plan

Figure out what kind of business you want to start. Brainstorm and come up with as many business ideas as you can. Once you have an idea, work on formalizing it by figuring out your target audience, revenue models, customer acquisition strategies, etc. 

You’ll need a solid plan in place before moving on?you don’t want to be floundering once things get tough. Plan it all out in advance to move quickly when your plan becomes a reality. Remember that formalize means to make official or definite; state exactly and clearly in writing or speech; set down according to rules or principles; make definite or exact.

Research your car thoroughly

JDM cars don’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Many of them are only worth a few thousand dollars. Be sure you’re getting what you pay for, though. Research your car thoroughly before buying one to know its history and if any work needs to be done on it for it to pass inspection in your state. If it doesn’t, it may be time to put your search on hold until you can afford an import that does pass inspection (and is safe).

Decide on your business name

The first step in becoming a JDM importer is to decide on your business name. It’s hard enough starting a new business, so try not to make it any harder by giving yourself an ugly or unpronounceable name. Try several different names on for size and see which one you like best. If you can’t agree on something, consider asking friends and family members what they think of each name until you settle on one everyone likes.?

Most people do when naming their company by including some keywords related to their industry. For example, if your business specializes in trading JDM cars, include phrases like JDM or car imports in your company’s name.

Get yourself registered as an LLC (limited liability company)

You’ll need to file your company’s formation paperwork with your state (typically called articles of organization or certificates of formation). Some states, like California, charge $125. Other states, like New York, are more expensive?$200 and up. 

Your LLC will be taxed as a subchapter-S corporation unless you elect not to be (in which case it will be taxed as an association). The cost for filing depends on your income tax bracket. You can file through LegalZoom for $295. Just know that LegalZoom isn’t an attorney and doesn’t provide legal advice?it just does all the legwork for you and files all of your documents for you at a very low price.

Read More: Negotiating With a Car Dealer

Gather all the documents required for registration

To legally import cars into Japan, you’ll need to obtain certain documents from various places, including customs authorities in your home country. For example, you’ll need a copy from local authorities stating that no taxes or tariffs are due on your import. Once you have all documents, you can start working with an authorized dealer for your car brand. If your preferred car maker doesn’t have an authorized dealer, work with an agent specializing in jdm imports. An agent can get and file all necessary paperwork for entry and deal with the paperwork.

Search for land and purchase it for the construction of your shop/garage

It’s not enough to want to buy cars; you need somewhere safe and legal where you can park them. In Japan, most of these businesses are run out of semi-permanent garages. Don’t be fooled into thinking that building your garage will save you money, however. Land for construction can cost anywhere from $25,000?$100,000 (or more) depending on location and other factors, plus another $5?10K per year in rent if you lease land from an established complex.

Get an import permit from the government agency responsible for your country.

Countries worldwide have different rules when it comes to importing and exporting cars. Some countries may require you to purchase an import permit from that country’s automotive authority for you to be able to import vehicles into your country of residence. 

Before choosing your source, be sure you understand all of your options and whether or not permits are needed. The last thing you want is for a car purchased overseas; never make it stateside because you weren’t aware of what was required. It can cost extra money, but it also causes serious delays in getting your new baby on US soil!

Find local suppliers of body kits, wheels, seats, interior parts, etc.

There are many local Japanese car parts suppliers, but it cannot be easy to find them on your own. An online auto forum is a great way to start your search. Begin by searching Google for keywords like JDM forum or Import car forums. 

Look through what comes up and post your question in those forums. Be aware that some of these forums will require you to pay a membership fee to post questions, so be sure that it’s worth it if you want to access them. You’ll also get free access if you spend enough money on some websites, which may be helpful if you’re going down this route anyway.

Source suppliers in Japan that are willing to export their parts for cheap.

If you’re hoping to bring in JDM parts, you’ll need local help. Typically, there are two kinds of Japanese companies willing to export: wholesalers and OEM suppliers. If your goal is sourcing cheap parts from Japan, then use wholesale online marketplaces like Alibaba or Yahoo! Auctions. These are your go-to spots for low prices on new and used parts (and even whole cars). You’ll come across businesses that will provide an assortment of OEM components at reasonable prices; these are good guys if you can get their attention?but it’s rare.

Read More: How to Import a Car From the U.S. into Canada.


The import car industry is highly lucrative. If you want to get involved in it, there are two ways: buy out another car dealership or start your own. The former can be expensive and time-consuming, but that path has been used by many people who have come into wealth through JDM imports. Alternatively, starting your own business can be much less risky and much less lucrative since you have to sacrifice profit margins on parts and cars. If you’re willing to go at it alone, then any garage can turn into an importer’s haven!