Japanese Cars Guide Banner Image

A Guide to Japanese Cars in Australia

If you’re thinking about buying a new or used vehicle in Australia then you have lots to consider, the make and model is probably one of the first thing. The Australian market has a wide variety of vehicles including the domestic market as well as European and Japanese imports, however, the Japanese market has a special presence in Australia and is a popular choice. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular vehicles on the road today as well as an overview of the Japanese car industry.

Overview of the Australian Japanese Vehicle Market

In Australia, we are lucky in that the Japanese market is highly accessible and the relationship between the importation of vehicles has been going on for quite a long time. So much in fact that manufacturing has also moved to Australia making it even more affordable for Aussies to start enjoying the benefits of Japanese cars.

They are popular in Australia due to their reliability, comfort and affordability which isn’t really comparable to European models or even some Australian vehicles. This has meant that over time Japanese vehicles have remained dominant and are still growing.

Japanese Car Models and Manufacturers in Australia

When it comes to Japanese car manufacturers, there are a few names that immediately come to mind. In Australia, these brands have become incredibly popular due to their reliability, affordability, and sleek designs.

Toyota Corolla

The Toyota Corolla is a classic model that has been loved for generations as a reliable economic car to get around. It first came as the sedan model but has some interesting variations such as the AE86 two-door hatchback. Recent versions have been updated to include larger body styles but still remain to be the number one classic for Aussie drivers.

Nissan Skyline

The Nissan Skyline is a high-performance car that is very popular among motoring enthusiasts, what skyrocketed its success in the West was its feature in the blockbuster film The Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift which starred as one of the main vehicles. It’s not only a beast of a vehicle performance-wise but has a nice sleek design as well as an array of aftermarket parts if you want to get your hands dirty with modifications.

Honda Civic

Another great choice from the Japanese market is the Honda Civic, it is a versatile and popular vehicle that comes in many different types and styles for many driver types. It kind of borders on the sides of comfort and performance, with a sleek design, roomy interiors and solid engine design. The multiple types mean that there are plenty of performance versions available as well as more family-friendly sizes.

Suzuki Swift

If you’ve seen the Suzuki Swift zipping around then you know this little pocket rocket has got the goods. It’s slightly smaller compared to other cars on this list but luckily it doesn’t sacrifice interior comfort for those wanting to have a good daily driver. It’s also been around for many generations and has an array of parts available for you to take advantage of for upgrades or replacements.

Mazda MX-5

The Mazda MX-5 is one of the most popular vehicles from Mazda and is a classic performance vehicle. It’s been around since 1989 and even through its many iterations it remains a classic and the newer models retain just as much interest. With nice clean and sleep styling this vehicle offers a unique combination of agility, power and style in one package. Aftermarket modifications are popular with older versions and models from the 90s and 80s can fetch quite a large sum for collectors.

Tips for Buying a New or Used Japanese Car

Buying a vehicle is a big decision and while Japanese models are reliable there are some things you need to look out for before purchasing. Start examining the market and vehicles available first but also think about these important tips.

Consider Parts Availability

This is more directed at new vehicles, but you want to ensure that parts are cheap and available just in case you need something replaced. The close location of Japan means that it’s easier to source and ship the parts required but some models might still be out of stock. There are manufacturers such as Toyota who have a wide range of aftermarket parts available so just keep this in mind.

Find The Right Vehicle Size

The issue with Japanese cars is that they are predominately designed for the Japanese market so vehicle sizes might be an issue. Many of the cars are smaller than their Australian-produced counterparts so if you’re looking for something larger it’s important to go in person and make sure it’s appropriate.

History Report

You will need to look at this if you’re buying used models. Getting a history report ensures that you’re not purchasing a damaged vehicle that might have been involved in a car accident. While most sellers are reputable it’s a good idea to do this as an additional precaution to cover all bases.

How to Maintain Japanese Vehicles

Just like any vehicle, those from the Japanese market require maintenance as good practice to keep them running efficiently. If you’ve recently purchased a newer vehicle then you’ll need to make sure that you follow the owner’s manual and take it for its regular service. Those who are more hands-on should be keeping an eye on the oil levels as well as the coolant and keeping both topped up accordingly.

The beauty of Japanese cars is that they are built so well that even older models are able to withstand lots of daily use without getting too worn down. This means you can get quite of time out of them but make sure that any issues are tackled accordingly. Regular check-ups and part replacements will solve the majority of your issues though.


While the Japanese market is already very popular in Australia there are many types of models to explore and it’s worth looking into the catalogue of these great cars. We in Australia are lucky to be so close to this country which makes importing vehicles and parts way cheaper than other places in the world. So take advantage and check out some Japanese vehicles as you’re likely to find something perfect for your needs.

Share on :