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These are the details of all the companies I've had dealings with in the process of acquiring my Toyota Estima. With one notable exception they have all been very helpful.

Car Dealer

As mentioned several times elsewhere on this website, I bought my vehicle through Angel Motors Japan, and they have my fullest recommendation. If you want to import a Japanese vehicle give Mike Ainis a call.

Shipping Line

The shipping line used was HUAL, and although I didn't have a choice in this, they got my car over to Southampton in one piece with no problems, so I am happy to recommend them.

Freight Agent

I dealt with YuwAutotrade, eventhough Wainwright Bros. are the official agents for the HUAL shipping line. I first made contact with Autotrade (later YuwAutotrade) when they were agents for HUAL, and as they were going to prepare my Estima for it's SVA Test, they kindly agreed to continue to work on my behalf and liaise with Wainwright Bros. Eventhough there was a minor hiccough, this was rectified immediately. Recommended.

Customs Clearance

I used ITS Maritime, who just happen to be in located in the same building as YuwAutotrade, very handy. They liaised with Customs and Excise for payment of Duty and VAT. There were a couple of minor hiccoughs here, but again their staff was very friendly, and all the issues were sorted out very quickly. Recommended

SVA

As mentioned earlier Autotrade, who were very patient and helpful to me (especially Karen), carried out the SVA preparation. Recommended

Number Plates

Well here is where I did hit a very frustrating problem. I ordered my number plates from Capital Numbers, who seemed very helpful in taking my order and ensuring they understood my requirements. However, they gave a delivery date of 48 hours, and they didn't appear. I gave them a couple more days and then contacted them. They informed me they had problems getting the acrylics in the size I required. This went on for some weeks, and they gave reasons (excuses!) for non-delivery, i.e. staff sickness/problems and later moving of offices. Now, I'm quite easy going to a point, and a point was reached where I cancelled the order. They had already billed my credit card on taking the order (their policy), but I waited and waited for the refund to appear. I tried phoning them on numerous occasions, but only ever got their answering machine, and I left several messages. I eventually was in contact with my credit card company, who told me what my next steps should be in recovering the money (fortunately only 25, but it is the principle!). I tried phoning them once more, in hope more than expectancy and someone actually answered their phone (shock horror). To be fair on taking my call, he did credit my card there and then, but why did it take so much of my time and effort to rectify their problem? Others may not have had the problems I did, but I definitely do not recommend using this company, avoid them.

I found another company using Yell (Yellow Pages on the Internet) called UK Auto Plates. I placed the order one lunchtime, and they were delivered exactly to my specification the next morning, great service and very friendly. Recommended.

MoT

I used Lex Autocentres, as usual, and had no problems with them, apart from they initially said that I need to have the car registered before I could get it MoT'd. Once I politely told him the error of their ways everything went smoothly. Recommended.

Registration

I took all the necessary documents along to Reading, and they processed my application within one day. Quite helpful.

Insurance

I found this area very frustrating. I carried out a lot of research mid-October, when I knew the details of the Estima I had. I got the best quote from Frizzell, closely followed by Bell Direct. When I tried to take out the policy with Frizzell they informed me that they had ceased offering cover with imported Japanese cars. So, I contacted Bell Direct about their quote, which disappointingly had gone up by 83. I frantically rang around again at the eleventh hour, but in the end I couldn't better Bell Direct. I don't think I'll recommend anyone in this category!