Home » Georgia Hammers Down On Imported Cars As It Reminds Officials To Ban The Titling Of Japanese Kei Cars

Georgia Hammers Down On Imported Cars As It Reminds Officials To Ban The Titling Of Japanese Kei Cars

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Owners of imported vehicles are once again finding themselves on familiar, unstable ground. Georgia is among a growing list of states with rules telling officials to stop titling and registering legally imported, over 25-year-old Japanese vehicles. Owners are being left with pretty paperweights that cannot be driven on Georgia roads. Here is how and why Georgia is doing it.

For more than two years, many owners of Japanese Domestic Market cars in America have been facing an uphill battle with numerous states. Back in the summer of 2021, Maine and Rhode Island began revoking the registrations of vehicles that were legally imported into America and registered in those respective states. Later, Maine and Rhode Island were joined by New York, Georgia, Virginia, and Pennsylvania, each imparting upon JDM vehicle owners varying levels of registration difficulties.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

For example, New York, Georgia, Maine, and Rhode Island all started recalling the titles and registrations of JDM vehicles while Pennsylvania allowed some already registered vehicles to be grandfathered in. Pennsylvania also allows Kei car owners to register their vehicles as antiques, which at least allows the vehicles to be driven occasionally.

Pennsylvania

Georgia Department of Revenue “Motor Vehicle Division Policy Bulletin MVD-2023-05″ has surfaced on Facebook and JDM enthusiast sites. It reminds Georgia county tag offices that Kei-class vehicles cannot be registered in the state. Apparently, as the letter notes, Kei-class vehicles have been improperly titled and registered by Georgia tag offices, and the state seems to want to crack down on that. This spells bad news for enthusiasts who might have been able to register their imports in Georgia over the past two years.

Despite appearances, Georgia is not the latest state to join the fray. Back when I was still schlepping Smart Fortwo posts over at the German Lighting Site, I received emails from concerned JDM vehicle owners in Georgia. That was back in 2021 almost immediately following the original debacle in Maine and Rhode Island. Based on that, it would appear that Georgia also started denying titles and registrations over two years ago. The letter suggests that not all county tag offices were following the rules.

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What Started This Nightmare?

1993 Mitsubishi Delica Star Wago
Bring A Trailer Seller

Each state that has imposed rules against the registration and titling of imported vehicles has its own way of doing things. Maine decided to change its laws to effectively ban all imported vehicles from being able to be registered. The state modified 29-A MRSA 354 on June 15, 2021, which defines what the state considers to be an off-road vehicle:

“‘Off-road vehicle’ means a motor vehicle that, because of the vehicle’s design and, configuration, original manufacture or original intended use, does not meet the inspection standards of chapter 15, the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s pollutant requirements or the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration’s crash testing standards and that is not a moped or motorcycle.”

You read that right. Under Maine’s definition of ‘off-road vehicle,’ anything you import into America that doesn’t have EPA or NHTSA certification, including a sweet 25-year-old Nissan Skyline, is on the same level as a Can-Am Maverick side-by-side. If you were to take Maine’s approach by the letter, vehicles built before 1967 and therefore predating the original application of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards should also be removed from the road.

Rhode Island took a different approach, deciding to reinterpret existing laws on its books. General Laws § 31-3-5 says that a vehicle can be denied registration because it is “mechanically unfit or unsafe” for highways. General Laws § 31-38-1 state that no person should operate a vehicle on a highway unless it is in good working order and in safe mechanical condition.

Rhode Island via Chuck Whoczynski

Those laws have been on Rhode Island’s books for years, and owners of imported vehicles were able to register vehicles despite them. However, Rhode Island has since changed how it interprets these laws to prohibit JDM imports from operating on its roads. Vehicle owners in Maine and Rhode Island have sued the state in attempts to get their registrations valid again. It is unclear what happened in those suits, but as of today, the aforementioned laws still stand.

Over in Maine, Rep. Shelley Rudnicki introduced a bill that, if passed, would no longer class a vehicle that could be imported under the 25-year rule as an off-road vehicle. As of writing, the bill is still pending.

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Georgia’s Shenanigans

Georgia
Georgia MVD

 

So, that brings us to what’s happening in Georgia. As I noted before, the letter isn’t representing a new change in the state’s laws, but seemingly cracking down on tag offices not following current guidance. Let’s go through some lines and explain what’s going on.

Georgia opens with these lines, stating that county tag offices have been registering Kei-class vehicles due to the fact that Kei cars are legal in other states and they look like they should be legal in Georgia. Emphasis mine:

The purpose of this bulletin is to notify County Tag Offices of the Department’s policy that prohibits the titling and registering of Japanese kei vehicles, minitrucks and similar vehicles (collectively, Kei Vehicles) in Georgia. Kei Vehicles are imported (primarily from Japan) for use as farming vehicles and off-road recreational vehicles in the United States.Periodically customers attempt to title and register these vehicles. Kei Vehicles are not compliant with U.S. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS). Therefore, they are not “street legal.” Kei Vehicles are barred from titling and registration.

Kei Vehicles are street legal in Japan. They have many features also found on street legal vehicles in Georgia, including headlights, taillights, seat belts and other features seen in other vehicles that are permitted on Georgia roads. Additionally, some states do consider Kei Vehicles to be street legal. Due to the similarities between Kei Vehicles and other street legal vehicles, combined with the differing laws in various states, both customers and county tag offices have been confused by the title and registration laws relating to these vehicles. Due to this confusion, certain customers have successfully, albeit unlawfully, had their Kei Vehicles titled and registered in Georgia.

It is important for counties to avoid titling and registering Kei Vehicles. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety issued a report warning that Kei Vehicles cannot protect passengers from collisions with even the smallest, lightest FMVSS vehicles. Kei Vehicles are not safe to be driven on Georgia roads.

Georgia then tells county tag offices how to identify an imported Japanese vehicle. The state tells county officials to count VIN digit length, noting that JDM cars aren’t going to have the 17-digit VIN of an FMVSS-compliant vehicle. However, Georgia also notes that the rule there doesn’t apply to vehicles made before 1981. If that somehow fails to identify the JDM vehicle, the state tells officials to put the VIN into the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) VIN Decoder to see if the decoder spits out this message: “Error Text: 7 – Manufacturer is not registered with NHTSA for sale or importation in the U.S. for use on U.S roads; Please contact the manufacturer directly for more information.”

Georgia1
Georgia MVD

Lastly, Georgia tells officials to physically inspect the vehicle in search of the FMVSS sticker stating: “This vehicle conforms to all applicable Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) in effect on the date of manufacture shown above.”

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Georgia makes it clear a couple of times in the letter that it believes its county tag offices have dropped the ball on imported vehicle registration. However, the state notes that owners of these vehicles can expect to have their plates revoked for the mistake:

We are aware that some Kei Vehicles imported into Georgia have been improperly titled and registered. When the Department learns of such titles and registrations, we issue a letter (i) notifying the owner that the title and registration are invalid and (ii) requesting return of the title. We also cancel the title and revoke the registration.

The State’s Argument

Mercedes Streeter

So, on what grounds is Georgia revoking the titles and registrations of imported vehicles? The letter states:

The Department and the County Tag Offices cannot give legal advice, which should be made clear to customers. The County Tag Office is also not responsible for providing legal defenses of Department positions. However, you may share with customers who insist on a legal basis for excluding Kei Vehicles from titling and registration that O.C.G.A. § 40-3-30.1(f) prohibits titling or registering unconventional motor vehicles. Kei Vehicles are manufactured for the Japanese domestic vehicle market and are not manufactured to be compliant with FMVSS, so under Georgia law they are unconventional motor vehicles and cannot be titled and registered.

I decided to pull O.C.G.A. § 40-3-30.1(f). It states:

(A) “Unconventional motor vehicle or motorcycle” means any motor vehicle or motorcycle that is not manufactured in compliance with the following:
(i) Chapter 8 of Title 40, relating to equipment and inspection of motor vehicles;
(ii) Applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards issued pursuant to 49 U.S.C.A. Section 30101, et seq., unless and until the United States Customs and Border Protection Agency or the United States Department of Transportation has certified that the motor vehicle complies with such applicable federal standards; or
(iii) Applicable federal emission standards issued pursuant to 42 U.S.C.A. Section 7401 through Section 7642, the “Clean Air Act,” as amended.
(B) Such term shall not include former military motor vehicles.

The letter specifically points to section (f), which states:

(f) Unconventional motor vehicles or motorcycles shall not be titled or registered; provided, however, that a multipurpose off-highway vehicle manufactured after January 1, 2000, shall be registered upon proper application and payment of the required fee.

Ga. Code § 40-3-30.1 has contained the “unconventional motor vehicles” line for many years, going back to at least 2010. Oh, and the term “unconventional vehicles” comes straight from the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, and we’ll get to that organization in a moment.

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AAMVA

However, it seems the state didn’t begin enforcing it until two years ago. Even weirder is the fact that according to a prior and still current section of code, Ga. Code § 40-3-30, the state does allow the titling of a vehicle that is 25 years or older:

a. In addition to the reasons set forth in Code Section 40-3-29, no application shall be accepted and no certificate of title shall be issued to any motor vehicle which was not manufactured to comply with applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards issued pursuant to 49 U.S.C.A. Section 30101, et seq., unless and until the United States Customs Service or the United States Department of Transportation has certified that the motor vehicle complies with such applicable federal standards and unless all documents required by the commissioner for processing an application for a certificate of registration or title are printed and filled out in the English language or are accompanied by an English translation.

b. The provisions of subsection (a) of this Code section shall not apply to applications for certificates of title for such motor vehicles first titled in Georgia that have a manufactured date that is 25 years or older at the time of application. Certification of compliance shall only be required at the time of application for the issuance of the initial Georgia certificate of title.

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Mercedes Streeter

This has also been on the books for at least as long as the ‘unconventional vehicles’ section. So, one section of Georgia’s code states that vehicles have to meet FMVSS unless they’re 25 years or older. However, the very next section says too bad, no title or registration for you. What does the state say? No FMVSS sticker, no title or registration:

The Department has yet to see any importation paperwork confirming that a Kei Vehicle is FMVSS compliant and can be titled and registered in Georgia. O.C.G.A. § 40-3-30 does provide that if the U.S. Customs Service or the U.S. Department of Transportation certifies that a vehicle complies with FMVSS, then the vehicle can be titled. However, such a certification would be a special document separate from the standard importation paperwork, and we have yet to see an importer, dealer or owner present such a document.

Some owners believe that because the U.S. Customs Service permits a vehicle to be imported into the United States then the vehicle is street legal and can be titled and registered in Georgia. This is incorrect. If customs officials permit a Kei Vehicle or other non-FMVSS vehicle to be imported, that means the vehicle can legally enter Georgia but may be used for offroad uses only.

The customs documentation provided by an owner can provide clues that the vehicle cannot be titled and registered. For example, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Form HS-7, Declaration—Importation of Motor Vehicles and Motor Vehicle Equipment Subject to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety, Bumper and Theft Prevention Standards has two checkboxes that are commonly used to import Kei Vehicles.

The Organization Behind This Mess

Regulation Of Off Road Vehicles Best Practices
AAMVA

 

As I’ve written a few times before, the states are actually following guidance from the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators. From my previous piece on the matter:

In November 2021, I located the source of this madness, and it was the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA). This is a non-governmental non-profit lobbying organization composed of motor vehicle and law enforcement administrators and executives from all 50 states. Canada, Mexico, the Virgin Islands, and Washington D.C. get representation in the AAMVA as well. Among other things, the organization seeks standardization of laws across the states regarding traffic safety, vehicle titling, and driver licensing. AAMVA does not have legislative power but it does urge all member states to follow its “best practices.”

Vehicles imported from Japan and China have been on AAMVA’s radar since the late 2000s. Back then, the organization noticed how tons of Kei trucks were flooding American shores and the states didn’t really know how to handle them. It should be noted that a lot of these trucks weren’t older vehicles imported under the Imported Vehicle Safety Compliance Act of 1988, but newer trucks with speed limiters meant for farm or utility work.

[…]

The recommendation for restrictions largely didn’t happen in the aforementioned states until 2021, when Maine’s BMV, with the help of the DMVs of Georgia, Colorado, and South Dakota published Regulation of Off-Road Vehicles: Best Practices.

AAMVA

I highly recommend giving my history on JDM car bans a read, but the important part to know is that the AAMVA urges state DMV administrators to classify any vehicle that doesn’t meet FMVSS as an off-road vehicle, barring them from road use. But, weirdly, it also specifically targets Kei trucks that are otherwise legal to import into America. The AAMVA recommends removing Kei vehicles from American roads because safety experts believe the vehicles are unsafe:

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By allowing on-road operation of used mini-trucks, Canada and the U.S. are accepting another nation‘s cast-offs—vehicles that no longer meet the exporting country‘s vehicle safety or emissions standards. Increasing the supply of older model vehicles in North America undermines government and industry efforts to improve vehicle safety and reduce vehicle emissions, as these efforts are largely dependent on fleet turnover. This risk can be reduced by placing restrictions on the use of these non-conforming vehicles in Canadian and U.S. jurisdictions.

This statement followed an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety opinion that low-speed vehicles and mini trucks are unsafe and should be removed from the road. Georgia’s letter cites the aforementioned opinion.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration requires that a vehicle either meet FMVSS or be at least 25 years old to be exempt. The EPA, on the other hand, either wants the vehicle to meet its emissions standards or be at least 21 years old. This is the infamous “25-Year Rule,” officially, the Imported Vehicle Safety Compliance Act of 1988 that governs when an enthusiast can finally bring their dream car into America. However, being able to get your car across the border doesn’t mean that you’ll be able to register it and drive it on the road. That is because vehicle registration is handled by the states. In fact, the state of Wisconsin says this, emphasis mine:

The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) allows for vehicles to be imported into the country once the vehicle has reached a certain age. However, NHTSA and EPA are not responsible for regulating the operation of motor vehicles on public roads in the U.S. or for titling or registering motor vehicles for such operation:that is the responsibility of the individual states.

AAMVA

The most shocking part is that the AAMVA admits in its documentation above that its recommendations may clash with existing laws. When that happens, AAMVA recommends that a state just change its laws until the recommendations are legal. As I said before, some states are changing their laws, others are just reinterpreting or otherwise enforcing existing laws.

A Long Road Ahead

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Mercedes Streeter

Unfortunately, I fear this is far from the end of the road for the owners of imported vehicles. The AAMVA issues recommendations for all states and it may be only a matter of time before imported car bans spread further westward. As it is, some states already make imported vehicle ownership difficult. Wisconsin says it does not register Kei-class vehicles. You can register a larger import, but it must not be modified and it cannot be your primary car. Those rules date back at least a decade.

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I have reached out to AAMVA officials as well as top officials at the Georgia Department of Driver Services as well as the Georgia Department of Revenue, Motor Vehicle Division. The Department of Driver Services pointed me to the Department of Revenue. Should these individuals reply or return calls, I will update this article as well as write an update.

Are you someone impacted by the rules imposed by these states? If so, how are you coping with this situation? Have you found ways to keep your car on the road?

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Mark Calkins
Mark Calkins
9 months ago

Unnecessary bs government interference in people’s lives that will make no difference in highway safety.
Land of the free my ass.

Ben
Ben
9 months ago

If this is really about safety, then I assume AAMVA is also advocating for banning motorcycles and UTVs? What’s that, they’re not? I’m shocked! Shocked, I say!

Well, not that shocked.

I would really like a deep dive article about the AAMVA because they sound like a front for a dealer organization or something.

SirRaoulDuke
SirRaoulDuke
9 months ago
Reply to  Ben

A quick look at their IRS filings show it is a real honeypot of income for its officers, with the CEO getting paid $400k a year. $49 million in revenue for an obscure non-profit organization?

D McMahon
D McMahon
9 months ago

I had been trying to get GA DOR to define what “Kei” meant under GA law. After a few emails I did get this response;
Georgia law and the Department’s regulations do not define kei vehicles. For many years, when we received questions about these vehicles, the popular term in Georgia to use was “Japanese minitruck.” Once I ran across the term kei vehicle, I found it more useful to use because it includes a broad classification of on-road vehicles manufactured in Japan for the Japanese market, not just minitrucks. Right now, many of the vehicles being imported into Georgia for off-road use fall into the kei class, and we receive a growing number of questions about these vehicles.
 
For the Department’s purposes, the term used is not important. For us, the question is simply whether we can title and register a specific vehicle. If it does not meet the statutory tests, we cannot title and register it.
 
Thanks!

Chi_spotting
Chi_spotting
9 months ago

I hope Illinois continues to be a safe haven for JDM imports. Where I live, there’s a guy with 2 R32s and another guy with a Subaru Sambar in his driveway.

Frank Smith
Frank Smith
9 months ago
Reply to  Chi_spotting

I saw an IL-plated R32 Skyline on the Edens outside of Skokie almost 15 years ago. Good on that dude.

Racer Esq.
Racer Esq.
9 months ago
Reply to  Chi_spotting

They will either rust to random plastic parts on the ground or their owners will have to sell them to pay IL taxes before IL takes away their registrations.

Scott Wangler
Scott Wangler
9 months ago

Set up an LLC in a state that titles the vehicle you want to drive. Title and license the vehicle in that state. Drive wherever you want.

The World of Vee
The World of Vee
9 months ago
Reply to  Scott Wangler

honestly this, it just makes things easier at this point

Stef Schrader
Stef Schrader
9 months ago
Reply to  Scott Wangler

I was about to say: Does Georgia want more Montana plates running around? This is how you get more Montana plates running around.

Sivad Nayrb
Sivad Nayrb
9 months ago
Reply to  Scott Wangler

Nope. The state you live in with house as a permanent residence generally gives you 30-days to register the vehicle there.

Scott Wangler
Scott Wangler
9 months ago
Reply to  Sivad Nayrb

Not if you have an LLC in another state.

Mrbrown89
Mrbrown89
9 months ago

I have seen a couple of kei trucks around my town in Michigan, registered and plated like a normal car. Of course Michigan doesn’t give a damn about cars, as long it has insurance and a title. Another reason to live in Michigan

Sivad Nayrb
Sivad Nayrb
9 months ago
Reply to  Mrbrown89

There’s zero reason to live in Michigan thanks to the Governess…

Peter Murphy
Peter Murphy
9 months ago

Apparently I get to be “that guy” since everyone else is frothing at the mouth at the unfairness of it all.

GA has amongst the highest rate of road related fatalities in the country. Some years it is the highest. Just drive around Atlanta for a while and see the insanity, or get out on a long stretch of freeway and get passed by some douche going 110 in a 65 zone. Kei cars don’t belong on GA roads, it’s insanity. Should all JDM cars be banned? No, but trying to determine which imports are safe and which aren’t would impose an administrative burden prone to mistakes that impacts a miniscule portion of the driving public. Easier to simply deny them all when so few people are impacted.

“If they care about safety they should ban giant trucks!” Yes, they probably should, but you guys are up in arms over banning kei cars that the vast majority of Americans don’t even know exist. If they tried to ban trucks there’d be literal riots.

“If they care about safety they should ban motorcycles!” See above.

“If they care about safety they should ban beaters!” Yes, let’s punish poor people some more, great idea.

Georgia has a serious problem with road safety. There are a lot of things they need to do. There are even more things they should do, but won’t. But arguing if they don’t do all those things they shouldn’t do anything is not helpful. Banning kei cars is absolutely low-hanging fruit – most residents won’t care, it doesn’t cost the state much of anything, and it might even save a few lives.

The only real shame here is that JDM cars that should be fine are getting lumped in the same category. I can only assume there aren’t enough people here importing to make differentiating worth the difference to the state.

Bjorn A. Payne Diaz
Bjorn A. Payne Diaz
9 months ago
Reply to  Peter Murphy

But will the number of Kei cars on the road have a statistically significant impact on that number of deaths; more deaths if they’re legal and less deaths if they’re illegal? Probably not.

Pneumatic Tool
Pneumatic Tool
9 months ago
Reply to  Peter Murphy

Was going to type something similar to what you wrote here about GA roads (especially in/around ATL) but you beat me to it. My son moved there recently, and I’ve had the “honor” of seeing this firsthand on multiple occasionas. I’m fairly convinced that many drivers in the area did their license test on GTA, but I digress.

Not only are the drivers – um – agressive in the area, but the roads themselves aren’t exactly great. I’m from PA, so I know bad roads when I see ’em. Combine the two of those things with small and/or narrow and/or top heavy vehicles w/o any crash protection and you have a pretty toxic mix. Saying all that, I’m not sure what kind of numbers were involved in the calculus. How many people really purchase Kei vehicles each year? It’s not like they’re prolific – they’re a tiny niche at best.

I’m not one to discredit something that’s designed to keep people safe, but I think that GA has a lot bigger fish to fry. Drive around the area for a while and note how many cars hydroplane in a mild rain, or how many are sitting on the side of the road with obviously suspension components. Maybe implement some higher standards of annual vehicle inspections, and see what that does to the accident rates in the state. Not sure what to do about the culture of hyper agressive driving other than increasing fines, but that might help too.

Vetatur Fumare
Vetatur Fumare
9 months ago
Reply to  Peter Murphy

A garbage take.
Unlike owners of giant trucks (and some motorcyclists), we are not putting anyone else at risk. We may be taking risks, but that’s our responsibility. I do not take my kei car anywhere near highways in the Bronx, because it would be nearly as silly as doing so in a Heinkel Kabinenroller.
These are not everyday cars – it takes a lot of effort to keep them in shape, as there are typically no spare parts over here.
Banning kei cars is low hanging fruit that makes absolutely no difference. At least allow people the option of getting historic plates (limited miles, etc), which is how 99% of them are used anyhow.
And in the end, this has absolutely nothing to do with safety. It only relates to AAMVA’s members wanting to import more ATVs from China and they’re afraid of Kei trucks undercutting their market.

Pappa P
Pappa P
9 months ago
Reply to  Peter Murphy

Listen to your own words.
“So few people are impacted.”

Jim Stock
Jim Stock
9 months ago

Is this happening in places where people can drive ATVs and SXS on the roads legally? If yes, that is a croc-o-crap.

D M
D M
9 months ago

And yet all local municipalities are approving people to drive their damn golf carts everywhere just so the speed limit is lower. Let’s see a golf cart get hit by a bro-dozer at 30 mph and see how it holds up. These Kei cars should be fine for non-interstate travel.

Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
9 months ago

Is it protectionism?
Or is it really just the rule-following personality type that can’t handle anything that’s outside of the norm (which would also take up more state employee time to process that might require additional headcount that they don’t have funding for because tax cuts) making the rules here? Which we’ll try to pass off as “Public Safety” to an uneducated populace.

Doctor Nine
Doctor Nine
9 months ago
Reply to  Urban Runabout

People that are unhappy, don’t like it when other people start having fun. They’ll snuff that shizz out faster than air freshener on a spicy chili fart.

Remember friends. There shall be no fun at the DMV. Ever.

Vetatur Fumare
Vetatur Fumare
9 months ago
Reply to  Urban Runabout

It’s protectionism (of importers of Chinese manufacturers, mostly), capitalizing on the rigid rule-followers and on the pearl clutching safety folks.

Scott
Scott
9 months ago

Thanks for the update on this worrying development Mercedes. 🙂

I’m in California, which despite the popularity of the Long Beach JDM car show, complete with hundreds of kei cars, is one of the states where it hasn’t been possible to register kei cars for a while now. As far as I know, it doesn’t matter how old the kei car is… vehicles imported via the 25+year rule also seem to be unregisterable within the normally progressive Golden State. I don’t know why this is, or who/what lobby is behind it.

I love kei cars (and especially trucklets) but I don’t shop for them anymore, since it’s just getting my hopes up for no reason. 🙁 I still attend the Long Beach show though. 😉

Jonee Eisen
Jonee Eisen
9 months ago
Reply to  Scott

Anything made after 1976 has to pass smog in California, so that rules out newer imports. Anything made from 1969 to ’76 has to comply with its particular year of manufacture DOT regulations, so that rules them out, too. But, you can freely import anything made in ’68 or earlier. Including kei cars. I brought over a Mazda R360 once without much hassle.

Scott
Scott
9 months ago
Reply to  Jonee Eisen

Thanks for the reply Jonee… I was unaware of that… so, ’68 and earlier and the DMV won’t give me trouble w/registration then?

I’m not burning to buy something (well, no more so than usual) but I am planning to attend the JDM car show in Long Beach the week after next. 🙂

Jonee Eisen
Jonee Eisen
9 months ago
Reply to  Scott

I can’t say that they won’t give you any trouble. You may have to get a VIN check with the CHP. But you should be able to register the car eventually.
I should be there as well. Always fun and interesting stuff at that show.

Scott
Scott
9 months ago
Reply to  Jonee Eisen

The Long Beach show is just plain awesome. Along with the Queen’s English and Best of France and Italy shows at Woodley Park, it’s my favorite car show in SoCal! 😀 And this year, the Japanese motorcycle show will be part of it. 🙂

PS: I have a ratty but low-mile ’95 Miata w/a hardtop (nothing rare about that really… there are a lot of rough NA Miatas in LA of course) and recently bought an minty ’18 Suzuki Vanvan (which were made for decades overseas, but only sold in the US for a few short years, so it’s sort of uncommon). I don’t have a tow hitch on the Miata or a bike trailer though, so my little fantasy of exhibiting my Japanese vehicles at the show will have to wait. 😉

AMGx2
AMGx2
9 months ago

It’s not about the actual cars but to limit influx of foreign cars.
TL;DR; it is to protect the domestic second hand market.

SarlaccRoadster
SarlaccRoadster
9 months ago
Reply to  AMGx2

since it specifically targets kei cars, which are a negligible percentage of all 25+ years old imports, (not every imported car that is 25 years old is a kei car), I suspect you might be wrong

Last edited 9 months ago by SarlaccRoadster
Ben
Ben
9 months ago

This is the thing that doesn’t make sense here. How many kei cars are actually being imported? How many are being daily driven? I bet the answer is “very few” and “even fewer”. As such, it can’t have a meaningful impact on anything because there just aren’t that many, and most of the ones that are imported are brought in as toys and wouldn’t result in a domestic sale even with the ban.

Vetatur Fumare
Vetatur Fumare
9 months ago
Reply to  AMGx2

Well, domestic second hand cars are also exported in droves, so I dunno about that.

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