Join now
Log in Join

How was your experience buying a car in Tokyo?


I don't know about you, but I had a lousy experience with a local car salesman in Tokyo that I wouldn't wish for anyone to go through. It cost me $1,500 to learn my lesson, and perhaps by reading this you can avoid the cost yourself.

Like many expats, my spouse is no longer working and could use a vehicle to move around town. Before we arrived to Tokyo we decided to lease a reasonable second-hand vehicle and requested our company appointed relo agency for support. They introduced us to a guy named Will Murray from a company called Occidental.

It was all downhill from there. Well over a month later, US$1,500 poorer and with no vehicle to speak of, we've now switched to a second car salesman (Mick Lay, Auto Supply Japan) and (fingers crossed) everything has improved significantly.

Before sharing more details, a quick disclaimer: I'm in no way associated with any of the vendors other than as a potential car client and I derive no benefit from posting this other than the peace of mind that comes from sharing my bad experience for others to avoid it.

For the record, my complaints regarding Occidental are the following:

1. Occidental offered, and we accepted out of ignorance, to rent a low-quality vehicle until Occidental could find a suitable car for purchase. This arrangement, which cost me personally close to 160,000 yen for a little over one month use of a very uncomfortable car, could have been avoided. Our current vendor, Auto Supply Japan, offered a high quality vehicle for free without me disclosing my prior arrangement with Occidental (I'm only paying for a small insurance fee). We've been using this high quality vehicle for about 10 days, and expect to use it for a week or so until our final vehicle arrives. Auto Supply Japan affirms that lending a vehicle, instead of renting one like Occidental does, is not uncommon in Japan.

2. Occidental consistently failed to secure acceptable alternatives during the 5 weeks we worked with them. Occidental repeatedly sent us overpriced vehicles way above our announced price range, even in older vehicles Protected content older). On the other hand, Auto Supply Japan offered several alternatives in a few days - and we have now secured from them a Protected content car for a price significantly lower than what Occidental was offering for the same make, but two years older Protected content !!

3. On a more personal note, Murray's attitude turned unprofessional-like and rude to me and my wife after he learned that we wouldn't lease a car from Occidental (Will, that's what gives car salesmen a bad name!).

Maybe you've delt with Occidental and have a different story to tell (I'd love to hear it, by the way). I can tell you if given the chance to go through the search again, I would avoid them at all costs.

Thanks for listening in.