Private Import vs. Dealer vs. Private sale

Discussion in 'General Technical Discussion' started by turbo_rvr, Nov 6, 2007.

  1. turbo_rvr

    turbo_rvr Guest

    Hi guys, so I'm looking for a Legnum wagon. Not even really sure what year model I should be looking at? They all are hot to me!! And I think I've decided on auto trans with the driving I do... But I don't want to regret it when I go for a run through the twisties! Maybe I should stick to manual? I dunno...

    Anyway the point of this tread is to ask you guy what you think about private importing a legnum vs. buying one already here, complied and regod from a dealer or private seller.

    I have only ever bought one car.. my RVR so I'm inexperienced. Any heads up would be great guys..

    Plus cost savings from privately importing - if there are any?

    Cheers, Dan
  2. leebutts

    leebutts 1 AYC Bar

    Jul 15, 2007
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    New Zealand
    First Name:
    2001 Golf GTI
    Ok - my 2c's worth

    you can pick and choose and get exactly what you want (if you're willing to wait)
    + you will save at least $2k over yard prices

    - can take AGES once purchased (3 months +)
    - no chance to test drive (make sure you get lots of pics taken and/or an inspection by the agent in Japan)

    + ready to go, no waiting
    + warranty?
    + you can test drive it

    - dealer has to make a profit ($2k+)
    - the usual risk of dodgy dealers bringing in low quality cars and doing quick patch up repairs before selling

    Private Sale
    + cheaper than yards
    + you can test drive

    - very few available for private sale, so hard to find the spec you are looking for

    I imported and although the wait sucked (purchased June 28, on road October 14) it cost me $5-$6K under the price a yard would list it at (so maybe a $3k saving in reality).


    Last edited: Nov 6, 2007
  3. hawks

    hawks Leaving Skid Marks

    Jul 13, 2007
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    First Name:
    Sold my 1998 Legnum VR4 Type S
    Spot on Lee :) The wait does suck and you don't save a great deal of money. One positive for importing is that you have a few months to save up some more $$$ for mods or to spread out the cost of the car.

    Oh, and the wait sucks ;)
  4. LEG_IT

    LEG_IT Leaving Skid Marks

    Sep 13, 2007
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    2000 Legnum Type-S Black Manual
    I was a lucky one to buy through a private sale. Although i still have to wait for compliance. It is better, as you are the one who makes the choices rather than someone you dont know, and you actually get to see the car and its abilities prior to buying it. If you find a private sale that they are not asking too much, give it a shot, even if its just for a testdrive. But remember not too many people are going to be selling them yet. IMO i would steer clear of any yards selling these cars as we have seen them go for well over $20k, and some asking prices up to $32k. With importing its your choice of the car, and the importers don't try to force you into anything, right......:p I say have a chat to Kristian (Iron Chef Imports) or Ben (J-Spec Imports), and see your options and projected costs.
  5. deleted.58

    deleted.58 Guest

    My thoughts (disclaimer: I'm an import agent so assume I'm biased :) ).

    - you'll pay quite a lot more (I think the $2k that Lee mentioned is pretty small, the general concensus among dealers is that if you haven't made $4k profit it's not worth it, and for newly available imports like Legnums it'll be more)
    - dealers often by cars to maximize their profit, so that means they will often buy the cheapest car they can find and then hide the flaws with a professional detail
    - when you consider that dealers are often buying the cheapest cars they can find while import agents are trying to find better quality vehicles since they won't have their faults hidden, dealer prices seem even poorer still
    - some dealers don't exactly have your best interests at heart... if there's one thing I've learned is that sometimes used car dealer's reputations are well deserved
    - you can see and test drive the car prior to sale
    - 3 month warranty is provided. You can buy longer warranties but (dealers don't want you to know this) but in my experience they aren't really worth it... too much stuff not covered and hoops to jump through to keep the warranty valid.

    Private sale:
    - you'll be paying more than importing but probably not quite as much
    - many 'private' sales will be people bringing in cars to make money, so similar situation to buying from a dealer
    - pretty limited range to choose from
    - you can see and test drive the car prior to sale

    - significantly cheaper prices. Many people who sell their imports a few years down the line actually still end up selling them for more than they paid.
    - much, much bigger selection (literally hundreds of cars to choose from, versus maybe a dozen available at any time locally) so you can really get the car you want
    - you get a warts and all view of the car so you know everything about it, even the bad stuff, it won't be hidden down the line
    - waiting time is around 3 months
    - there is very minor risk involved that the car will need some work when it arrives, but the chances of this are small and even if something catastrphic needs replacing if you compare with dealer prices you'll still be better off overall
    - don't get to see the car prior to sale, but the import agent should be able to provide you with enough information and photos that you feel comfortable with the car
  6. VR4_Psych

    VR4_Psych Guest

    Having been through the import process, I would say that the thing you need most is patience. If you've got that, then the money you save and the greater range of options well and truly offset any potential problems. Plus, as said, it is relatively easy for a dealer or someone selling privately to hide problems with a car, whereas import brokers don't usually benefit by doing so.

    Conclusion drawn - I will be importing again, and I will continue to go through reputable brokers.

  7. Kristian

    Kristian Leaving Skid Marks

    Jul 22, 2007
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    Changes daily
    +1 for what Ben said, but I biased too haha

    Well written though, big fella.
  8. turbo_rvr

    turbo_rvr Guest

    Wow.. lots of info guys! Cheers. Yeh the only turn off is the wait.. I'm one of those people who is like .. I want it and I want it now! But maybe I'll learn to be patient.. I'll look around and see what happens...

    PS: Anything I should be looking for if inspecting any Legnums? For example.. cc shaped evos (I,II,III) are know for roof rust. Anything like that for the legnums?
  9. takumi

    takumi Guest

    3 months wait is really nothing ... the problem with importing is that u hang out on these forums and people keep telling u how hot the car is. If u kinda forget about the car it doesn't seem that long. I waited almost 12 months for my PS3 I pre-ordered so 3 months was a walk in the park.
    Believe me the VR4 is worth the wait !!!
  10. SiliconAngel

    SiliconAngel 1 AYC Bar

    Aug 7, 2007
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    Perth, WA
    First Name:
    SA, Trevor
    '99 Legnum VR4 Black MT
    LOL that's what you'll get from Sony ;)

    Yes. Make sure they've replaced the damn undersized Jap battery and stupid tiny terminals!! Most common fricken problem with this car on these forums, but fortunately extremely easy to fix. Just don't put it off if you import your own car or buy one with a little battery - replace with 500CCA or greater rated battery.
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2007
  11. BuzzPuppy

    BuzzPuppy OZVR4 Ambassador Lifetime Member

    Aug 7, 2007
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    レグナム Super VR-4
    +1 for the broker/importers with the better range. Although I bought mine off the forums, I really came half-way through the deal because it was literally on the boat on the way over. Those 100+ photos helped (especially with the underbody to check for rust) and I knew what I was getting into with a ding on the side.

    Am I happy with it? Well, I've done 1,000km so far (300km rego'd ;) ) and the comments, looks, driving experience, get-up-and-go and the good crew in these forums definitely makes a difference! Also, you're getting in at the start of our lil' community here. We're still learning about the cars and we're feeding off each other's excitement, with the arrival of the cars and ownership treated with almost the same zeal as the arrival of a new-born kid.

    Having known a number of mates who've imported cars, I know what I would be up for with the waits and the unknowns. But tell me this... for $16,000 I've spent so far, there is nothing that's going to wipe the grin off my face :D
  12. Blainey

    Blainey Guest

    After speaking to the guy who did the compliance test on my car these are prone to rust in the rear chassis, especially if it has been a snow car. If you can get the car on the hoist check over it from underneath. I dealt through a yard but was going to get a sooty car (even longer wait) then he had my car come through and I was able to look over it and it was clean as plus tein coilovers, OZ racing wheels, g-reddy turbo timer and after market exhaust. And also Veilside wing, didn't like it at first but may grow on me.

    I got mine through Brisbane unique cars. The guy who owns the yard previously ran a compliance workshop and imported cars before opening yard. He is a descent bloke and I can only recommend him. Ask for Domonic (if your in Brisbane). He has a few on the lot now also.
  13. deleted.58

    deleted.58 Guest

    Yes underbody rust is the only really common issue with Lengums, the first place to go is usually at the back just above the exhaust, or the chassis and suspension in general. Otherwise I'm pretty impressed with them, there is no one major flaw or weakness that seems to be common (see threads on auto transmission though I'm a slight skeptic on this one). The only other common things I can think of are pretty small like the interior clock often stops working, or that little trim piece at the bottom of the front bumper is missing.

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