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Kytaez

Jap imports gen 4. Worth considering?

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Hello everyone!

First post here as im not a Prius owner just yet.

I'm still happy with our old Corolla but life is changing and we need a bigger car. So decision was made to get a Prius Gen4. 

Now I got a few questions regarding taxes insurance and anything else I should know about buying such car.

Looking at the prices we noticed that there is a few Japanese imports on a market and they seem to be a better deal BUT is it really???

1. How much more insurance would cost?

2. Any tax differences?

3. Servicing difficulties as sourcing the parts?

4. Writings in Japanese (language options of software)?

5. Battery (warranty, different capacities etc)

I've tried looking for answers around other forums but there's not much information or it's outdated.

We'll looking to buy in April so I thought it's better to find as much info as we can.

I would appreciate any help on that and gladly read any links thrown at me! Cheers!

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The only item on your list that I've heard of is no.4, the displays being in Japanese.

  

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Wouldn't have thought there would be any Toyota warranty on the hybrid Battery.

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Typically, how much saving on an import...... same spec, same year, same condition, mileage etc.  Then divide the saving by 10 x the likely time you will keep the car.  Maybe then it’s not worth the potential hassle for the savings per year.

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2 hours ago, kithmo said:

The only item on your list that I've heard of is no.4, the displays being in Japanese.

  

Cheers kithmo!

I see... 

How bad? I mean.. is it fixable through software? 

I think my best bet is to have a viewing on one of those to decide to what extent I wanna learn Japanese.

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2 hours ago, Catlover said:

Typically, how much saving on an import...... same spec, same year, same condition, mileage etc.  Then divide the saving by 10 x the likely time you will keep the car.  Maybe then it’s not worth the potential hassle for the savings per year.

Hi Catlover!

I'd say it'll be around £2-3K off the price 

It's usually lower milage cars too. I'm just not sure where is the catch 🤔

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2 hours ago, FROSTYBALLS said:

Wouldn't have thought there would be any Toyota warranty on the hybrid battery.

👍 

Probably not. I hope it can't be too bad on Gen4 anyway. 

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Seems you made you mind up. Hope it goes well for you.

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Well,  the Japanese language is not the biggest problem but the true mileage itself. There is no way anyone can guarantee the mileage is real, paperwork easily faked.  There are almost no such a things Prius=low miles, this is the most favourite car in taxi industry around the world including Japan, think twice of a low miles Japanese import Prius. There are plenty of them even as PH vehicles, so should not be an issue with service, maintenance, but warranty from Toyota uk most likely non existent. My advice: if you are DIY person and understand cars go for it, if you opposite, don’t know about cars and relay on after sales service and support from a dealer just get the uk official car for your peace of mind. 
Good luck 

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Issue is its classed as a grey import so insurance is going to be higher not all insurers cover grey imports, the radio will not work correctly as japan uses different tuning steps, the sat nav/display will be JDM only so in Japanese ONLY, no hybrid warranty

parts may be a issue as JDM cars are a lot different, paper work will all be in Japanese

to me the savings don't make a lot of sense as the Prius is a car that's available in the UK to UK specs - if it was something like an Alphard that is JDM only that's a different matter

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Tony HSD,

flash22

Thanks for your reply! 

Good points 

I'm totally DIY capable person, but it's just doesn't make sense to buy a car for £15k and then spend time fixing myself 🙂

Ok I think I'll have a look at actual cars (both Japanese and UK) and try to figure it out. 

Thanks for your time to read and write!

i will update if I dig something interesting! Cheers!

 

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On 1/25/2020 at 10:55 AM, Kytaez said:

1. How much more insurance would cost?

2. Any tax differences?

3. Servicing difficulties as sourcing the parts?

4. Writings in Japanese (language options of software)?

5. Battery (warranty, different capacities etc)

I've tried looking for answers around other forums but there's not much information or it's outdated.

We'll looking to buy in April so I thought it's better to find as much info as we can.

I would appreciate any help on that and gladly read any links thrown at me! Cheers!

  1. Don't know about the UK, but here in Ireland they often load insurance on Jap imports or some will refuse outright
  2. Should be the same
  3. The Prius sold in Japan is mechanically identical (they're all coming off the same lines as ours), the only things that are likely to be different are external parts like lights, front bumper (unless number plate holder is separate part), etc.
  4. There are people in the UK who specialise in converting the MFD to English, but I've only seen such services offered for Gen 3 Prius so far. Toyota deliberately don't allow the language to be changed to discourage grey imports
  5. No Battery warranty will be valid in Europe. Compare to a UK Prius where you'd get up to 15 years with annual Hybrid Health Checks.
On 1/25/2020 at 3:07 PM, TonyHSD said:

There is no way anyone can guarantee the mileage is real, paperwork easily faked.  There are almost no such a things Prius=low miles, this is the most favourite car in taxi industry around the world including Japan, think twice of a low miles Japanese import Prius.

History checks are available for Japanese cars these days: https://carvx.jp

Japan has traditionally had standardised car models for taxi use, mainly the Toyota Crown Comfort and Nissan Cedric Y31, and now the Toyota JPN Taxi which is also a hybrid. Although the Prius is used for taxis there, it's not as common as these models, and when I was last there in 2018 I didn't see a single Gen 4 Prius taxi - they were all Gen 2 or 3 models, so they're probably not buying them new. Due to new accessibility requirements (wheelchair access, automatic passenger doors are also common in taxis there), I don't think the gen 4 will be a popular taxi in Japan.

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Part of the joy of Prius ownership is the car's ability to reduce the stress of driving. The MFD and its myriad screens play a part in this, through providing information during the drive that can encourage a more gentle approach. If those screens were incomprehensible, I think that would be a real loss. Also, trying to navigate the infotainment setup is a little haphazard in English - the stress of trying to do that if it's all in Japanese would be something else chipping away at that relaxed experience. Add in the lack of warranty, which provides useful peace of mind, and the extra hassle of getting it insured, and several key positives of Prius ownership are lost. Not to mention the relative difficulty of selling it on afterwards.

I've owned several Japanese imports in the past, and was prepared for the extra hassle because they were all models that simply weren't available over here. Personally, I wouldn't buy an import of a vehicle that's readily available in this country, especially as steeper depreciation could potentially wipe out any initial cost saving.

 

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