Reading Auction Sheets

Japanese Auction Sheets

Decoding Auction Data:

As discussed in our Japanese FAQ section. Car inspectors rely on Auction inspection sheets to decide on whether to bid on a car or not. A huge amount of cars in Japan are purchased over the net, with agents having live auction systems such as Aucnet set up in their offices. Even when buyers go to auction they will spend their morning checking the auction sheets on computer to see what they should inspect and what they can knock off their list.

At the mega sales where there is not much time, many Agents are happy to bid on a car unseen if the auction sheet looks fine. The auction inspection system was developed so cars in more remote parts of Japan could be sold unseen and conversely Buyers from rural areas could buy in big sales unseen and send a transporter to collect. This is a system that’s been refined and improved over the years and is trusted by Japanese buyers. The auction companies are liable for miss describing a car and will have to settle a claim with the aggrieved buyer for cash if they have made a mistake. With car auctions selling thousands of cars a week it is not in their interest to be having an argument over every car they sell, therefore they have a tendency to over describe any faults so that they are covered.

The Japanese auction system is not uniform across all auctions and every buyer in Japan knows this, some auctions are more severe in their checking than others. Ultimately you need a good agent to read the sheet and interpret what the situation is or if you are out there you need to walk the cars yourself. Some of the symbols vary from auction to auction but here is a quick glossary of what they mean.

A: Is a scratch with A1 being a very light scratch, which usually means a graze that will polish. A3 will mean a bad scratch that needs paint, some auction use up to A4 either way on any Japanese auction sheet the higher the number the worse the damage.

U: Is a dent. A car may have many U1’s which are pin dents that may be very small or unrecognisable U3 will be a proper Knee sized Dent

W: Wavy means showing signs of previous repair W1 means a qualified inspector could identify a good repair. W2 is a repair that is visible W3 is a bad repair that will probably need to be redone.

X: Panel is damaged beyond repair and needs replacement

XX: Panel has been replaced.

Y: This means damage to front or rear lights.  Y1 can mean a small chip in Headlight glass, Y3 will mean you can put your hand through the hole to replace the bulb.

C/S: You shouldn’t see this much because you are not looking to import rusty motor cars but depending on the auction company C1-C2 or S1-S2 will mean light rust-heavy rust.

X/G: this will mean a chip on the windscreen or worse if any numbers are present. Some auctions use Kanji to show windscreen marks but any marks pointing to the screen mean chips or cracks.

There are a few extra symbols used in smaller auction houses but these are the standardized symbols you will see on all auction sheets.

The Auction sheet will also have a dialogue box which lists extra information such as Bose Music or service comments or upgraded brembo brakes etc. Now I could do a glossary of the most used Kana but really you need your agent to translate this part for you. If you are using one of the bigger internet auction providers they can provide a translation for you. Even if you decide to learn Japanese Most auction sheet info is listed in Hiragana,Katakana Romaji type script but sometimes only Kanji can express the true statement and this is not something you will learn easily. If you don’t have an agent handy just know that EG or EG! Means engine issue.

The Auction Grade is a representation of the cars overall condition not just the bodywork. It is meant to give an indication of how much money will require spending on a car to make it retailable, so if you are looking at a car that appears mint but only gets a grade 3 it may have a mechanical issue and will need further inspection.

The auction grades can run from 2 to 6. However 5 to 3 is the standard in most auctions. The auction grade is also dependent on age and mileage for example it is very rare for a fifteen year old car to be grade 4, and in this instance you can consider the car to be exceptional for its year, conversely a one year old car shouldn’t be grade 3.5 unless it has had a hard life.

Tyres are Generally graded 1 to 9 with 9 being brand new and 8 as good as,anything under 4 will need replacement soon.

Grading System

Grade 6 or S: This should be a brand new car but some auction companies allow ex demos with 2K on the dial into this category either way it should be plastic on the seats fresh.

Grade 5: should be used but perfect.

Grade 4.5: As above but with some minor blemishes.

Grade 4: As above ,but the blemishes will be more noticeable, may have had cosmetic  paintwork.

Grade 3.5: when you get down to grade 3.5 you are looking at many small marks and scratches. I have bought many nice grade 3.5  it depends on the age of the car

Grade 3: Should have a lot of marks and scratches and require repair, will have had previous repair.

Grade R or Ra: Used to mean accident car that’s been repaired, but is now used by a lot of auction companies to grade cars they don’t want to put a grade 3 on. Either way expect a heavily repaired vehicle or something in need of major love.

Here are some examples of Auction Sheets

Auction grade 6 or S

This is a Grade S or 6 car, Top left corner says 22 this is the year 2010 count back 2. Below that you can see the registration date of the car and when it will be due it’s shaken. Car has absolutely no blemishes.

japanese Auction grade 5

Grade 5 as above almost new but has a mark on the D/S Sill(probably not noticeable without inspecting)

japanese auction grade 4.5

Grade 4.5 car is showing lots of light scratches and chips. In truth these would be very slight

japanese auction grade 4

Grade 4 This car is showing light scratches to both bumpers and more importantly evidence of repair to the P/S quarter panel. The repair would be to a good standard for the car to remain grade 4.

japanese auction grade 3.5

Grade 3.5 Covered in small but noticeable dents and scratches.  D/S front wing has been replaced so you need to investigate further.

japanese auction grade 3

Grade 3: Car has been shunted in the rear left hand side, it’s had a new quarter panel but the roof and boot are still waving at you, I would expect structural damage here.

Heres an Interesting Infographic that explains the Import Process for the UK