At the time of moving to Japan 13 years ago, we didn't have the need for a car at all - Tokyo Metropolis is extremely well connected with trains that run regularly and on time.
In 2005, we did decide to get a car after buying a house for a few reasons:-
This is our first car - a Nissan March. We got it secondhand for about 800000 yen. The roads are so narrow in Japan that we were not confident of driving around so got something at a reasonable price that we could practice in for a few years ^^;
in 2010, our Nissan March got the Itarization treatment and you can see the process here.
All cars in Japan must go through a safety inspection every 2 to 3 years. The inspection is called Shaken ] and in our case cost about 90000 yen. Many folks in Japan see Shaken time as a chance to change cars - they might as well use the money that they were going to pay for the inspection and put it towards a new car.
I loved our Nissan March but wifey really wanted to change it - she drives around more than I do and she's also our Finance Director so I cant argue with that ><
Our March was one grade above whats known as a "K Car" or Keijidousha - these are cars which have to meet certain ecological standards meaning that they run on more environmental friendly gas, smaller in size but the engines are not that powerful. You can recognize a K Car from the yellow number plate.
We do drive around Japan a bit and our March did tend to rattle while on the highways at speed and wifey felt it was time to change it. Thus we go car hunting.
Cars are big business in Japan - its rare that you should not see any car ads when watching TV. Many folks like to change cars often - buying and then selling just a year or so after they got it so that they can get a new one.
This time round however, wifey wanted to get a new one which is going to be a company expense. It makes sense to put it down as an expense because its obviously used for marketing ^^
Its the battle between the car manufactures - lately they have been trying to make the showroom visiting experience a more comfortable one. They give you drinks, presents (character goods towels and snacks) and have an area to keep the children quiet - the showroom sales staff dont want children taking attention away from parents who are about to make a decision to spend loads of money ^^;
Our first Itasha - ended up with Mirai in her Suku Mizu because I was in a rush to put the data together for the printers - from a branding perspective I should have chosen the Summer Uniform. As the image is reversed - the "d" turned into "b" and the hairpin is on the wrong side.
These days however, we make sure the pin is on the correct side even though the illustration has been flipped.
Then its back to the Meguro showroom to sign the papers!
There are many ways to pay for the car depending on your financial situation. We payed over half upfront and the rest is being payed in monthly instalments over the next 3 years at an interest rate of 5.4%.
They take about 2 weeks to prep the car depending on the optionals like car navigation, bumper style and wot not.
As for our Nissan March - Nissan were offering 10000 yen trade in ^^;
Instead we went to Bigmotor who sent a young chap who was a fan of Mirai Suenaga - he offered us 10 times more at 120000 yen instead - and insisted that we kept the stickers on the car for him ^^;
Bigmotor resold our car for a certain amount to a certain who - we have no idea ^^; The great thing about Bigmotor is that they even provided a temporary car for us to drive around in (at no extra charge) before our new car was delivered - do second hand car dealers do that in your neck of the woods too?
Our new trusty steed - the Nissan Dualis. While we did love our green March - the Dualis is a completely new experience for us. The bigger more powerful engine allows us to outrun burning bridges, the suspension provides a smoother ride over dead zombies and we can actually hear the music while driving on the highway as the car shell keeps out sound pretty well.
I wanted metallic orange but they didn't do it in that color so it was a choice between white, black and red. I hear that black and white cars are a pain to keep clean - red looked the best. However - we noticed much more bird poo on the car since we changed cars - Is red an easy target for birds? ><