It seems everyone wants a piece of the JDM pie these days. With the end of the U.S. 25-year import restriction in sight for many of the Japanese halo cars of the 90s, the import market is hotter than ever. The first generation of the Nissan Skyline GT-R, the R32, became legal for import in 2014.
In 2021, the second generation of the GT-R, known as the R33, became eligible for import as well, and Skylines make up a massive part of the JDM import market. But just how much does it cost to bring Godzilla stateside?
Is it expensive to import a Nissan Skyline GT-R?
Thankfully, the market for the Nissan Skyline is so strong that many can be found on American shores for sale, and dealerships have popped up across the country catering specifically to JDM imports. These cars can be bought and sold just like any other domestic U.S. vehicle once they have undergone the importation process. However, should you want to bring in a GT-R of your own, there are a few more hoops to jump through.
Many JDM-specific dealerships are happy to handle the import kerfuffle for you, greatly simplifying the process. TopRank Importers out of Cypress, California, is one of the leading importers in the U.S. right now. Shipping costs generally stay at a fixed rate, plus an additional import tariff. This import tariff is where things can get tricky, as TopRank points out. The current import tariff rate is 2.5 percent and may shift in the future as the auto import market continues to heat up.
According to Sean Morris, owner of TopRank, there is a flat $5,500 fee for export from Japan and import into the United States. This flat fee will also cover transport to their dealership in California.
What if the GT-R I want isn’t legal yet?
When importing a Nissan Skyline, there is one last issue that TopRank points out as significant. Depending on the state, emissions regulations can hamper the importation process. Some states, like California, will not allow you to import a car if it does not meet certain environmental constraints. The most common are CARB (California Air Resources Board) certification and OBD2 emissions testing. Costs on these tests will vary from state to state, but you won’t have to pay extra for emissions tests on an imported vehicle.
The R34 generation of Nissan Skyline GT-R is arguably the most coveted. It’s the one everyone wants, and for a good reason. From the silver screen to the racetrack, the R34 is one of the most domineering figures in import car culture. Unfortunately, the R34 is still relatively too new to meet the 25-year import rule. However, TopRank has a solution for this as well. They are offering storage of your new R34 GT-R in Japan until the car is old enough to import.
Is it worth storing your Nissan Skyline in Japan?
TopRank is vague about the upfront cost of storing the car in Japan. Storage is a fantastic option, especially for those looking to get ahead of the impending spike at R34 prices once they become legal for import. They’ll even keep the car’s Japanese registration up to date so you can visit your new ride and tear up the Tokyo streets.
Importing a car from anywhere can be a headache, but thanks to TopRank, all it takes is money. No matter the model year, the Nissan Skyline is a dream car for many. Thankfully, the cost of importing is minuscule compared to the satisfaction of owning a piece of Japanese automotive history.