5 Cheapest JDM Cars in Australia (2024)

JDM cars are always in high demand, mainly because they're rare outside of Japan and excellent cars overall. Importing JDMs is a challenging exercise because of the strict importation rules in Australia, but since plenty of these models are cheap, they continue to appeal to buyers.

Some of the most affordable JDM cars are the Mitsubishi GTO, Honda Civic, Lexus SC300, Mazda Miata NB, and Toyota Crown, but not for long. Their numbers are gradually decreasing, and other countries are making it easier for buyers to import them to their shores.

In the following sections, we'll check out what JDM's are all about and what pros and cons they come with. Then, we'll show you our JDM cars list, including five cheap JDM cars you can find in Australia (at least for now).

Let’s get started.

What Is a JDM car?

The JDM abbreviation stands for Japanese Domestic Market. In the simplest terms, these are car models designed according to Japanese automotive quality standards and were only meant for sale within their borders. These cars were never intended for export to any country.

As a result of this exclusivity, car enthusiasts outside of Japan value JDM cars highly and desire them for a wide range of reasons. This ‘rarity’ gives these cars 'cool' points whenever they're spotted on local streets outside Japan.

What makes them even harder to get is that you can only import them by following strict importation guidelines, which are designed to protect a country’s local industries.

On top of that, JDM cars are also in high demand among tuners, who are enthusiasts seeking to buy JDMs cheap so they can then invest into improving the car’s performance and aesthetics.

What Are the Pros & Cons of JDM Cars?

As mentioned above, JDM cars are popular for a lot of reasons. Let’s take up the advantages first.

Pros

Their benefits include:

  1. Rare models: First and foremost, JDM cars are rare, not only on Aussie streets but anywhere else in the world. Remember that JDM means that the cars were never intended to be available outside of Japan, so you’re lucky if you own this high-value commodity.
  2. Better for tuning and modifying: Tuners love JDM cars because of their fantastic tuning platforms – you’ll have plenty of room to play around.
  3. Kept in good shape: Even though JDMs are often used cars, you can trust that their previous owners kept them in good shape. Think about every Japanese stereotype you know and apply that to vehicles. I can only think of well-disciplined drivers, who don't drive their cars aggressively and who generally keep their wheels well-maintained. That means a reliable JDM car for you to buy.
  4. Plenty of cheap models: JDMs are generally very affordable even after importing them to Australian shores. That’s great news because it means you’ll spend less on obtaining the vehicle and have more to spend on tuning and upgrading it.

Of course, nothing is perfect in this world, not even the coolest JDMs you can find. So, there are some drawbacks to consider.

Cons

You need to be aware that JDM cars have:

  1. Hard to find parts: Naturally, rare cars will have rare spare parts. Finding JDM parts isn’t impossible, but you’ll have fewer places to source them from. So, if you want to replace something, you’ll need to find sellers specialising in JDM parts or order them from Japan yourself.
  2. Fewer features: JDM cars are generally older vehicles with fewer bells and whistles. People who buy JDM cars shouldn’t expect the latest in connectivity or other features you’d find on newer car models. That’s something you should be aware of before diving into the world of JDM cars.

Are JDM Cars Legal in Australia?

Yes, Japanese Domestic Model (JDM) cars are legal in Australia. Better yet, Australia isn’t too far from Japan, making shipment significantly more affordable than if you were in the US or Europe.

However, there are import rules that you need to know about. For example, there's the '25-year rule' that came into effect in 2019. The law is pretty straightforward: You can only import a JDM car into Australia if it is more than 25 years old.

5 Cheapest JDM Models in Australia

Now, we’ve come to the fun part. Here are some of the cheapest JDM cars for sale in Australia.

You must remember that the best JDM cars won’t stay cheap forever. For starters, there’s fewer of them as time goes on. And secondly, other countries like the US have relaxed their import rules a little, which means more buyers are snapping them up.

Still, to help in your search, here are some cheap JDM cars Australia has to offer:

  1. Mitsubishi GTO- The Mitsubishi 3000GT or GTO was in production from 1990 to 2000, so plenty of them are already more than 25 years old. It’s a sports car manufactured as a three-door hatchback that can fit four people inside.
  2. Honda Civic- The Honda Civic is a household name at this point, even among those who aren’t car enthusiasts. The nameplate has been around since 1972 and has existed in plenty of different body styles ranging from 2-door fastback sedans to 5-door liftbacks. However, the car has remained the same in one area: it has always kept itself in the subcompact and compact classes.
  3. Lexus SC300- On the luxury side of things, we have the Lexus brand, particularly the SC300. This car was available elsewhere around the world as the SC430, though the JDM version set itself apart with different options for trim levels and powertrains.
  4. Mazda Miata NB- Another name that’s been around for a long time is the Mazda Miata. The older JDM models are perfect for those wanting a compact convertible that’s affordable and falls within the JDM category.
  5. Toyota Crown- At this point, you’ll notice that some JDMs are flashier than others, which is what makes them attractive to local tuners. Still, the Japanese have some older models that come with a subtle touch of class, like the Toyota Crown.

You’re probably not going to race anyone in this car (and win), but it’s a sedan that looks cool simply because of its understated luxuriousness.

To discover more about JDM cars and models from elsewhere around the world, check out the blog at Carpart.com.au. To find JDM parts, you can make things easier by sending us a request, and we’ll search the part for you! Try it now!

By Ray Hasbollah

5 Cheapest JDM Cars in Australia (2024)
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