The government has announced that effective July 1, 2018, it is introducing a new guideline for applications involving the importation of classic vehicles into the country. Issued by the ministry of international trade and industry (MITI) via its website, the new guideline will see an increase in the vehicle age requirement to obtain a classic car import licence (AP, or approved permit).

Currently, the age requirement for a vehicle to qualify for a classic vehicle AP is that it has to be 25 years or older, but this will now be increased to 35 years and older from the start of next month. A vehicle’s age is determined based on its year of manufacture, effectively raising the new cut-off point for the classic car AP to vehicles made in 1983 and earlier.

The existing guideline for a vintage vehicle AP, which stipulates that the intended vehicle has to be 50 years old and above, remains unchanged. As it was previously, vehicles must be certified as a classic or vintage by a recognised body from the exporting country, to eliminate fraud.

The new rule will have an impact on importers and classic car collectors. Messages from importers have been circulating about lamenting the increase in the age limit, which effectively removes an entire generation of iconic JDM models from the equation – to put the extra 10 years into perspective, even the first examples of the first-gen NA Mazda MX-5 wouldn’t qualify for import via the classic car AP route for the next six years.

Word from the grapevine is that June 29 will be the last day MITI will accept applications for classic car APs under the old guideline. The revision has no impact on open APs, which will continue as is. What do you think of the decision to increase the age limit for classic car imports? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section