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Free On Board (FOB)

FOB is the term used to explain what costs are included when the price of a vehicle is quoted. In the case of exporting a car, as well as the initial car cost (that is the cost of the car in Japan alone without any other charges) the price is usually quoted as FOB (Free On Board). This includes the car cost plus all of the costs associated with getting the car to the port, ready to ship with all of the necessary paperwork and customs issues in Japan handled. The car cost alone is not really a meaningful figure since there are still other Japan side costs that will be incurred, so FOB prices are used where possible.

Although it will vary on the vehicle, the source and where the car is physically located at the time of purchase, FOB is typically around 100,000 yen to 110,000 yen (or higher for more expensive vehicles). As such when an FOB price is quoted, it is in fact the car cost plus that 100,000 or 110,000 yen covering additional costs. There are some agents in Japan who offer marginally cheaper FOB rates however this is usually with fairly obvious downsides in their service, typically in the quality of pre purchase information about a car, and this is why we will usually not use an export agent charging less than 90,000 yen, even though there are some out there.

Costs typically included in the standard FOB rate

  • auction buying fees (if applicable)
  • inland transportation of a vehicle
  • port terminal receiving fees
  • Japan-side customs paperwork preparation and lodgement
  • deregistration of the vehicle and export certificate preparation
  • recycling taxes (if applicable)
  • wholesale network buying fees (if applicable)
  • export agent fees
  • couriering shipping paperwork, export certificates and spare keys/log books (if applicable) to customers after shipping

Costs which might result in a slightly higher FOB rate than normal:

  • vehicle inspection service for dealer/wholesale/privately sourced vehicles
  • additional transportation costs if a car needs to be moved from a particularly remote area to the port for shipping

In any situation where the FOB rate will be higher than normal customers are notified in advance or already have these extra costs included in the FOB price of the vehicle quoted.

J-Spec always clearly states when a quoted figure given is either FOB or car cost (i.e. without the additional FOB charges included), as a general rule to keep things simple we will quote the FOB cost of a car wherever possible to give customers the clearest picture of the costs they are up for.

Transportation of vehicles in Japan is always via transporter, they are never driven

Some of the paperwork involved with Japanese deregistration

Vehicles awaiting port entry in Japan