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What are Auction Grades?

Auction grade tells you the quality or sometimes the status of the vehicle you are purchasing at the point of auction. This is the first item you need to know when buying a vehicle from an auction in Japan. Below gives you a summary of the auction grades used. And make sure not to mix up the auction grades with vehicle option/package grades, which denotes the features available on the vehicle.

Japan Auctions

Overall Auction Grades

  • Grade 7, 8, 9 or S – A new car that is being sold in an auction, with only delivery mileage.
  • Grade 6 – Cars with a little more than delivery mileage.
  • Grade 5 – Car with exceptionally low mileage and in mint condition.
  • Grade 4.5 – Car is in excellent condition. Millage can be up to 100K.
  • Grade 4 – Solid good car. Mileage could be high or low.
  • Grade 3.5 – This is similar to a grade 4 but may need more paint and panel work. Alternatively, it may have high mileage.
  • Grade 3 – Has either serious paint or panel damage, or it has had a panel replacement somewhere. These cars can also be basically grade 3.5 in terms of condition, but with very high mileage.
  • Grade 2 – Reserved for vehicles in the worst condition. This does not mean that they are write offs, simply that they have experienced deterioration such that they are now in a very poor state. A grade 2 vehicle will often have corrosion, perhaps corrosion holes and other serious issues. If you are looking for “classic” and other older cars or older trucks and buses, you will find a number of them are grade 2.
  • Grade 1 – After market, the car has gone though a serious modification from its original state. Or either the transmission changed from Auto to Manual.
  • Grade R, RA, A – These are repair history cars. The auctions definition of “repair history” is a car that has had an inside panel repaired in some way. This can range from extremely minor to major.
  • Grade ***/??? – These are ungraded write off cars which may not move at all. Auctions provide zero information on these cars.

Therefore, a vehicle of an auction grade 4.5 or above seems to be a good choice to buy.

Correct Choice

Exterior and Interior Grading

Some auctions provide a separate grading as A, B or C denoting exterior and interior grade. Some only provides interior grading, which depends on the auction. This grading information is available on the top right corner of the auction sheet.

  • A – As new condition. No faults.
  • B – Very clean condition poss. very slightly dirty.
  • C – Clean but with cigarette burn.
  • D – Dirty or stinky or big wear/rip on seats.

Sample Auction Sheet

Damages and Scratches on the body

Auction sheet further provides the condition of the body in a very detailed level with per-defined codes. This provides you further insights into the status of the vehicle you are planning to buy. Even though these are given as scratches, sometimes these are not visible to your naked eyes.

  • A1 – Small Scratch, A2 – Scratch, A3 – Big Scratch, B – Dent with scratch
  • E1 – Few Dimples, E2 Several Dimples, E3 Many Dimples
  • U1 – Small Dent, U2 – Dent, U3 – Big Dent
  • W1 – Repair Mark/Wave (hardly detectable), W2 – Repair Mark/Wave, W3 – Obvious Repair Mark/Wave (needs to be repainted)
  • S1 – Rust, S2 – Heavy Rust
  • C1 – Corrosion, C2 – Heavy Corrosion
  • P – Paint marked, H – Paint faded
  • X – Need to be replaced, XX – Replaced
  • B1 – Distortion on (radiator) core support or back panel (approximately size of a thumb), B2 – Big Distortion on (radiator) core support or back panel
  • Y1 – Small Hole or Crack, Y2 – Hole or Crack, Y3 – Big Hole or Crack, X1 – Small Crack on Windshield (1cm)
  • R – Repaired Crack on Windshield, RX Repaired Crack on Windshield (needs to be replaced)
  • X – Crack on Windshield (needs to be replaced), G – Stone chip in glass

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