Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Better choices in importing American-Japanese Cars

Let’s face it, American brands like Ford, Chrysler and GM are notorious for their gas guzzling SUV’s and economy models with often shoddy quality but all that is about to change. If you are planning to import used left hand drive (LHD) cars from the US, your options just got better.

To survive against the manufacturing efficiency of the Japanese, the design brilliance of the Germans and their ongoing struggle with the unions, Detroit’s Big Three are striving to decrease overheads, increase productivity and improve product quality. This frantic struggle for competitiveness, coupled by aggressive investments of foreign auto makers in the country has led to a surge of relatively cheaper, more reliable and not to mention better looking LHD cars.

LHD buyers who crave for the quality, safety features and fuel efficiency of Japanese cars used to import directly from Japan and then have the right hand drive (RHD) units converted to LHD. Steering conversions can present certain disadvantages. Incompetent conversions can compromise the road worthiness, safeness and even performance and handling of the vehicle. Not to mention the fact that it entails an additional cost.

Fortunately, original LHD’s by popular Japanese makers like Toyota, Honda and Nissan are widely available in the US. In fact, the “Made in USA” label which used to be proudly flaunted by American brands like Ford and GM is now more appropriate for Toyota, Nissan and Honda.

Consider these cars as examples. Only 35% of the components of the Chrysler’s PT Cruiser are made in the US. And this distinctively “American” car is produced in a car factory in Mexico. Then we have the Ford Fusion which contains only 30% US-made components. On the other hand, Toyota Camry contains 80% US-made components, Honda Accord 70% and Nissan Altima 65%. They are also produced in car plants across America.

Although it gets harder to define what an “American car” is nowadays, what is more important is that excellent cars from the US – both Japanese and American brands – are finding their way across the globe as new or used car exports. If you factor in the current weakness of the U.S. dollar, then a lot of great bargains can be had for car dealers as well as end users in countries fortunate enough to use left hand drives.

Edon Canada
AutoTerminal.com Americas

When the going gets tough, the tough drive compact

As the global problem with the scarcity of fossil fuels runs deeper with each passing day, prices of oil and its by-products soar to levels that burn holes right through consumers’ pockets.

Everywhere these days, driving huge Sport Utility Vehicles (SUV)- for leisure and lifestyle enthusiasts, Multi Purpose Vehicles (MPV) for work and business – even luxury cars (For those who consider maximum comfort) for travelling in and around cities has now become a wasteful indulgence! Purpose and design has become irrelevant because of one thing – rising fuel cost.

Driving around in gas-guzzlers just doesn’t make sense anymore. Good thing car manufacturers are boosting the production of their compact, subcompact and even mini lines to meet this growing need.

Come to think of it, why would you choose to drive a compact in the first place? If you had asked that question a couple years back, the answer would’ve been laughable. Compacts were never taken seriously back then – as affordable as they are, they held true to their name where the values of safety, space and comfort is seen as compromised. While compacts may not come as comfortable as large vehicles for the car aficionado, owning one offers some big advantages: convenient parking, the much needed fuel economy and, of course, the cheeky look!

With recent trends however, engineers and designers have come up with design changes to accommodate the hip and younger market segments and even the older markets through added safety and security features. Engines have been redesigned for improved fuel economy. Car prices are made more competitive and a host of payment options are now offered to attract budget conscious buyers.

Major brands and car manufacturers worldwide now offer compact and subcompact model lines suited to individual or family needs and varied lifestyles. Stiff competition among the brands open even more opportunities up the highway for consumers.

For choices, one can always go for the brand new models, the advantages of which are: assurance of quality, getting the latest models and technologies, and excellent payment and financing schemes. The thrifty on the other hand, can always go for used models readily available online or through local dealerships which sometimes offer great financing schemes as well! A lot of compact models from the past still remain popular on the road to this day. Some are even available with improved features, proving they pack the kick and stamina like their bigger competitors. A few market favorites from the past decade include:

A. European

1. Volkswagen- Golf, Touran
2. Renault- Scenic
3. Opel- Zafira
4. Fiat- Multipla

B. United Kingdom

1. Renault- Megane
2. Vauxhall- Astra
3. Citroen- C4

C. American Tops

1. Ford- Focus
2. Chevrolet- Cobalt

D. Japanese

1. Nissan- Sentra, Micra / March
2. Honda- City, Civic, Fitz/ Jazz
3. Toyota- Corolla, Yaris, Vitz/ Echo
4. Mitsubishi- Lancer

E. Korean

1. Hyundai- Elantra, Accent

2. Kia- Avella, Rio

3. Daewoo- Racer, Matiz

The disadvantages are common to just about every used car, meaning: outdated models, greater mileage and decreased vehicle road worthiness. Fortunately, parts centers that cater to the used car market are largely flourishing these days and in the case of hard to find parts and accessories, (allowing for the patience needed to wait for shipment deliveries) one can always browse and order thru hundreds of parts dealers online.

Dubbed as “econocars,” compact and subcompact lines are now benchmarks for customer taste.

Jovir Amatong

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

How to apply for Single Vehicle Approval (SVA) Test

Before registering any imported, amateur built cars and light goods vehicles in the UK, they need to go through a Single Vehicle Approval (SVA) Test. SVA is required in order for these vehicles to comply with British and European safety and environmental standards.

Below are the classifications of vehicles that require SVA:

N = Left Hand Drive.

P = Personal Import. A vehicle imported by a person who has lived in the country of export for 12 months and has
owned and used the vehicle for six months.

= Armored Vehicle. A vehicle which meets the armor plating anti bullet requirements.

= Hearse, motor ambulance or motor caravan.

= Amateur Built. A vehicle built by an individual, or which has been built by someone on behalf of
that individual
who is not in the business of building motor vehicles, and which is for personal

= Vehicle built by a person in the business of building vehicles using parts of a vehicle registered
in Great Britain.
The engine and at least one other major part must come from the same donor

= Rebuilt Vehicle. A vehicle which a) the local DVLA office has given a vehicle chassis or
identification number to,
b) does not meet class “A” or “C”, and has been rebuilt using a
replacement chassis or combined chassis-body of
the same design as the original. The chassis or
combined chassis-body is new or from a vehicle that has already
been registered in the United
Kingdom (UK).

= Vehicle manufactured in very low numbers. A type of vehicle of which a manufacturer can build
(worldwide) up to
200 vehicles of that “family of types” (or up to 20 of that “type variant”)
within any 12-month period within the 36
months before the month the vehicle was made. Note: Refer
to the Motor Vehicles (Approval) Regulations 2001
(http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2001/uksi_20010025_en.pdf) for a definition of “family of type” or
“type variant”,

D = Disabled person’s vehicle. A vehicle which is adapted or built so that a disabled person can travel in it, whether
as the driver or as a passenger, in safety and reasonable comfort. For more
information, see the SVA booklet or
the technical standards in the SVA inspection manual.

R(ESVA) = A vehicle that is not in any of the classes shown above. Vehicles in this class must meet
the enhanced SVA (ESVA) test standards. For more information, see the SVA booklet or the
technical standards in the SVA inspection manual.

Complete definitions of the above can be found in the Motor Vehicles (Approval) Regulations 2001 as point of reference: http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2001/uksi_20010025_en.pdf

• The first thing you need to do is fill out the SVA test form and get the SVA booklet and SVA
inspection manual from the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) near your area. The SVA
test form is available here:
To obtain the list of VOSA test stations, click on the same link above.
• You may also get SVA testing at these independent authorized test facilities:

AutoTerminal.com UK - Unit 2 North Road , Marchwood Industrial Estate, Southampton - 023 8066 7619
Dunton Emission Laboratory - Dunton Technical Centre, Laindon, Basildon, Essex, SS15 6EE
- 01268 403271
Landrover - Block 105, Lode Lane, Solihull, West Midlands, B92 8NW - 0121 700 3184
LTC Ltd - Aston Way, Leyland, Preston, PR5 3TZ - 01772 422911
Millbrook Proving Ground Ltd - Millbrook, Bedford, MK45 2JQ - 01525 408253/408362
Status - Manchester Metropolitan University, John Dalton Building, Chester Street, Manchester M1 5GD -
0161 247 6240

The Motor Industry Research Association(MIRA) - Watling Street, Nuneaton, Warwickshire, CV10 0TU
– 024 7635 5029
Torotrak Plc - 1 Ashton Way, Leyland, Preston, PR26 7UX - 01772 900900

• Make sure to accurately list the vehicle information when filling the test form. After submitting the form, it will
take just about 2 weeks for SVA testing to be done on your vehicle.

by: Amalia Aviles
AutoTerminal.com UK