Pacific Coast Auto - Guide to Importing a Nissan Skyline R32 GTR in the USA

Discussion in 'USA' started by Derek, Aug 1, 2014.

  1. Derek

    Derek Derek Weldon

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2013
    Messages:
    444
    Location:
    Yokohama Japan
    Hi there,

    This is Derek from Pacific Coast Auto.

    As of this writing, the Skyline GTR32 is now importable into the USA. It is 2014 August so the first Legal 25 year old GTRs are landing this month.

    It has come as a bit of a surprise that Pacific Coast Auto has become a popular company for USA buyers importing the Nissan Skyline GTR.

    First, the necessary disclaimer - Vehicles imported into the USA have to be 25 years old. For more info, see this thread - http://import-era.com/threads/how-to-import-a-japanese-car-into-the-usa.461/

    This thread is going to focus on the R32 GTR but the same information can be applied to many cars in a similar category such as the R32 GTS-T, Nissan 180sx, Nissan Silvia, Toyota Supra, Mazda RX-7, etc.

    -------

    I receive maybe 15-20 emails per week for customers asking to import a GTR into the US. Although importing cars into the US is fairly easy if you know what you are doing, the Nissan GTR presents some special challenges.

    First off, what is legal?

    Any vehicle that is 25 years old is legal to be imported into the US. Registration is simple in most states but it is very difficult to pass the CARB requirements in California. At the time of this writing, I am not aware if it is possible to modify the RB26 to comply but we shall see.

    Cars with engine swaps that are newer than 21 years old are technically not legal. However, I have not heard of any vehicles having problems except for Land Rover Defenders (Which Land Rover actively seeks out and punishes).

    The vehicle needs to be 25 years old based on the month of production. This is usually proven by the registration certificate's date of first registration.

    Next, let's some details about pricing and condition of cars.

    Okay, so this is a tough one. The price of the cars is subject to the market conditions and we can only really guess what will happen. They are subject to change from what is posted here.

    As of right now, we are seeing that the R32s that are legal to be imported right away, can range from 2-4x their previous price. This is due to the high US demand and very little supply of the first few months of vehicles. I am seeing vehicle selling int he range of about $12,000 - $30,000.

    Vehicles that can be imported any time in the next 6 months generally will have a higher price tag attached as well. I am seeing about 2x the previous price for vehicles that are about 4-6 months away from the import date, and more for ones closer to the import date. For these cars, I am seeing prices around $8,000 - $20,000.

    The cost to import is about $2000 on top of the vehicle purchase price. This covers exporter fees and shipping to the West coast. On top of that, there are some port fees and 2.5% import duty as well as registration costs similar to what a used vehicle would cost in your state.

    You might notice that there is a very wide range of prices here. The reason for that is because the R32 has a wide range of conditions. Let me explain.

    Being 25 years old, the R32 is now an old car. The types of drivers for the R32 come in two basic categories.

    1 - Younger drivers that buy it cause it is a performance bargain. They buy the medium to lower end ones, drive a lot, modify the car often, race it, and are generally quite hard on the car.

    2 - Older people who drive the car for nostalgia reasons or cause it has been their dream car that they have taken care of. These buyers generally spend more money on their cars, treat them better, and may not be driving them very much. There are fewer of these types of owners.

    These are broad stereotypes and of course do not represent every owner.

    The vast (vast vast) majority of the cars are in poor condition. This is an expensive car to own and requires money to be spent on it regularly. If the upkeep falls short, it could cause cascading problems.

    Common problems I see with these cars -

    Many of them have corrosion problems on the underside and in the engine bay.
    Many of them have had their gauges changed and the kms are unknown.
    Many of them are heavily modified and these types of cars are always riskier to buy.
    Although the paint is decent on these cars, after 25 years there are many with peeling paint or paint fade.
    Many of them have been in accidents. Some large, some small. Some have been repaired well, others...not so well.
    Early R32s have well documented oil pump problems that were fixed later in the R32 life cycle. To my understanding, this is not as big a problem as the internet makes it out to be unless the engine is being used at very high RPM. However, it is impossible to know if a car was abused in the past.

    Are R32 GTRs easy to buy?

    The straight answer is no in most cases. If you have deep pockets then it is relatively easy
    This is due to a few reasons.

    Most of the vehicles are not in good condition so it can take a long time to find one that is good.
    The price is very high right now and buyers who bid low are susceptible to getting problem cars.
    There is a severe lack of knowledge about the industry for US customers since importing is brand new for them. This will likely result in a number of sad circumstances for customers and exporters who take advantage of them.

    So what will happen in the future?

    As the months go by, there will be more and more of these available to import. General understanding of economics 101 is that the price will go down as the supply increases. However, I have a few points that I think we should watch out for -

    Right now, the price is very high and boatloads of people are buying the up at these high prices. People are buying any condition cars they can get no matter how bad they are. There is a general feeling that you can make money hand over fist by having one for sale. Though this may be true at first, what is happening is that the market is being flooded with mostly poor condition cars. This may cause the general public to believe that vehicle imported from Japan are generally in bad shape.

    Once the price equilibrates (possibly 2 years down the road), we will likely see the lemons theory in full swing. Listen to this -

    Because of the wide difference between the price of the poor condition ones and the good condition ones, many importers looking to profit will be buying the lower grade ones. When the market is full of low grade cars, it will cause the US market to believe an arbitrary average price for these cars. Let's say $15,000 landed. Few people will be buying the expensive ones since they would have to sell them at $40,000 to make the same profit per investment dollar. I am predicting that not many people will risk the big money to get the nice versions of the car. When the initial crash in the price happens, you will not want to be one of the people who paid 3-4x more for your Skyline. This model happens in other markets but I feel that the US market will be hit worse due to the lack of good condition cars and overwhelming demand.

    So, that is my overview of importing the Nissan Skyline R32 GTR into the USA. The next few years will prove to be very interesting. These are just my thoughts, I would be happy to hear what other people have to say.
     
  2. Dah_Hunter

    Dah_Hunter Looking over your shoulder, so you dont have to.

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2013
    Messages:
    2,367
    Location:
    Lower Rainland (BC)
    Good info for sure.. and the nice thing for the USA buyers it that since canada has been getting R32's for the last 10 years, there is lots of parts/info etc sites like GTRcanada.
     
  3. Derek

    Derek Derek Weldon

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2013
    Messages:
    444
    Location:
    Yokohama Japan
    GTRcanada.com is an awesome source of information. I used it for gathering information for starting this company. They must be 10 years old now eh?
     
  4. Dah_Hunter

    Dah_Hunter Looking over your shoulder, so you dont have to.

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2013
    Messages:
    2,367
    Location:
    Lower Rainland (BC)
    ya i think it was last year that was the 10 year there.