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Import Vehicle Titles Revoked Kei Truck Drama

Okay, here we go again with these Japanese Kai mini trucks, and there’s a lot of controversy and misunderstandings about them, but even beyond these trucks, even if you’re looking at an import vehicle, an older vehicle, or a gray market vehicle, some of the rules and procedures work the same way, so even if you’re not looking at one of these mini trucks, you want to know how these rules work.

The Drama with Importing Vehicles
So here is the drama with these: there is a standing rule with the portation of vehicles that if a vehicle’s older than 25 years old, it is exempt from certain customs regulations. The EPA has regulations right so you can get it through customs and import the truck, which makes it legal to import. What a lot of people don’t realize is that just because you can import, it doesn’t mean that you’re going to be allowed to drive, register, or title it; it just means the federal government will let you bring it through the port. These trucks are designed in Japan to be used mostly for farm work and, uh, rural work, not to be used on major highways.

State Regulations and Issues
Here’s what’s happening in many states:. Many states are realizing that these vehicles do not conform to standards for road use, so even states that allowed them for a while are now pulling the titles and registrations. This example comes from R.I., where they have sent out notices to owners of these vehicles. Even if you already had it titled and registered, you have to cancel it and bring it back. State of Main did it a couple years ago. Many other states are doing the same thing. So if you’re looking to buy one of these, even if your state currently allows it, be aware that at some point they may undo it. It’s technically a state-by-state issue.

Federal Influence
However, the federal government is also influencing this because they have a stake in road and highway use. They give millions of dollars in highway funds and, uh, road district fulfillment to various jurisdictions, and if they find out that a state or a county is allowing unsafe vehicles on the road, they can pull back their highway money, and you might say, Well, it’s not unsafe. Well, according to the federal government, it doesn’t meet the standards of a road use vehicle.

Use and Specifications of Mini Trucks
and this also applies to other types of import vehicles. According to the article, the mini trucks are generally used for things like farmwork; they weigh 1,500 lb., that’s very light, can only reach speeds of 75, and that’s on a good day downhill with a tailwind.

DMV Stance on Mini Trucks
Here’s the big issue: the DMV says these Kai vehicles were never manufactured in compliance with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. They’re allowed to be imported if they’re more than 25 years old, but whether they’re allowed on public highways is up to individual states. Right now, it may be up to the state, but the state, when they make their rules go by federal guidelines, trucks previously registered with the DMV for years, and now they’re have to turn in the registrations and keep the vehicles off the road.

Comparison to Other Antique Vehicles
Other antique vehicles are grandfathered because they met our safety standards at the time they were manufactured. That’s the key. You can buy a 194 Ford and it doesn’t meet the current regulations, but it did meet the regulations in 1940. If one of these vehicles, let’s say, is a 1990, it doesn’t meet the standards now, but it didn’t meet the standards in 1990 either, so that’s where the gray area comes in.

Future of Kai Vehicles
Look, we talked to DMV commissioner departments all over the country many times a year. In reality, it’s likely that within the next 3 to 5 years, all these vehicles are going to be withdrawn from eligibility, and it’s not going to be possible to title or register these vehicles, and even if you have one, you have to give it back.

Other import vehicles
where this also comes into play is if you purchase another import vehicle we had a uh a client that purchased an opal from Europe an opal sold sold cars in the US but this was one that was manufactured for the European market in I believe the late ’70s early 80s and that particular European car did not meet the standards for the US market at that time so in order to get it titled or registered this owner would have had to reconfigure it and meet meet the standards some of those standards are impossible to meet if the vehicle’s too narrow or it doesn’t have the right size frame or too light so be aware that when you’re purchasing a vehicle that was not originally manufactured for the US market you have to be cautious that you may either initially or down the road not be able to retain a title or registration for it.

First Step to Getting Electronic Car Titles

Introduction to Electronic Titles and Signatures
Well, here’s the first batch of good news from the long process of getting electronic titles and even electronic signatures. Our Coalition of title professionals, called ESTART, had one of their first submissions to a government agency, and this is for the state of Massachusetts.

Massachusetts Registry Initiative
Their registry is considering putting electronic titles and signatures on documents. This first submission from the Coalition included titles from Desa Auto Auctions, Carvana, and other automotive industries. This is support for electronic signature and titling enhancements in Massachusetts.

Collaboration with RMV
This effort is done through their RMV (Registry of Motor Vehicles) and aims to offer vehicles for sale while awaiting a certificate of title and permit authorization to facilitate additional electronic transfers.

Progress in Other States
We have some other initiatives in the works in the state of New York, including electronic liens. Follow along on this channel for updates on the progress of getting to electronic titles and getting rid of the paper bureaucracy.

Benefits of Electronic Titles
Titles getting lost, signatures getting whited out—all these difficulties make titles more bureaucratic. This is the biggest reason many clients have to deal with title problems.

Follow along for updates. It may take a year or two to get some of this through the works, but we’re working very hard to make titling easy for you as a consumer, dealership, auction, or lender. This way, you don’t have to face going to the DMV, dealing with paperwork, or dealing with forms. It can all be done electronically, without the hassle of fighting through all kinds of runaround from your Department of Motor Vehicles.

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Fake VIN Numbers Put On Vehicles

The Importance of VIN Verification
Here’s another way that scammers can sell you a bad vehicle, even if you do your due diligence and check out the VIN number. But it’s also a reason why DMVs sometimes require Vin verifications or inspections—it’s to protect you, not just to give you a hard time.

A Case in Texas
Here’s a case where a person in Texas purchased a vehicle. They checked out the VIN number, ran a background check, did a VIN search and VIN history report, and everything looked okay. But as they found out, the VIN number they were looking at wasn’t the real VIN number for the vehicle. There was a replacement VIN number that was improperly put over the real VIN number.

Multiple VIN locations
On a vehicle, there are at least eight or nine VIN numbers. There’s one on the cow on the dashboard, many on the frame, some hidden, some on the doorpost, some on the inside of the B pillar, etc. They’re all supposed to match. Many times, people just look at the one on the cowl by the dash, but there’s other VIN numbers. A person trying to conceal a vehicle will normally only change the one on the dash because that’s what’s looked at. There’s even some that are hidden that nobody knows about except for police officers. If a car’s stolen and somebody hides all the visible ones, they know where to look to find the hidden ones.

Verifying the VIN number
The OBD plugin for the diagnosis of a vehicle also shows the VIN number, so you want to check that to make sure the computer matches. Otherwise, you could buy a vehicle that you think has a certain VIN number, and really, it’s a stolen car, or even if it’s not stolen, it could be one that’s salvage or parts only or for export only, which means you can’t title it.

Legal Implications of VIN Tampering
Remember, it’s illegal to move VIN numbers from one vehicle to another. So, if you have a vehicle for which, for some reason, the VIN number is no good because it’s salvage or parts only, don’t think you can just get another VIN number and slap it on there. There are very serious federal statutes about VIN tampering that make that a big no-no.

Using Consumer Resources
If you have questions about how to make sure your vehicle has a proper VIN or if the history of that vehicle is eligible for a title, make sure you use our website as a free consumer resource. We’d be glad to provide help and assistance to improve your odds of getting the right kind of vehicle.

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Why Dealers Don’t Give Car Titles

Car dealerships operate under a finance agreement called a floor plan or a floor line. This means that all the cars on a dealer’s lot are usually financed with a line of credit arranged by the dealer to hold their inventory.

Why Title Ownership Matters
When you purchase a vehicle from a car dealer, receiving the title is crucial. However, sometimes dealerships don’t have the title to transfer to you immediately because it’s held by a finance company until the car is paid off.

Potential Issues with Title Transfer
If a dealer doesn’t promptly pay off the car’s financing after selling it to you, the finance company retains the title. This situation can lead to complications, leaving you with a vehicle you paid for but can’t legally own.

Case Study: Dealer’s Default
A recent case illustrates this problem. A dealership sold cars without paying off its line of credit with the lender. As a result, several customers couldn’t obtain titles for their purchased vehicles.

Legal Remedies for Consumers
Consumers facing this dilemma have options. They can negotiate with the finance company, file complaints with the dealer licensing board, or seek a court-ordered title.

Court-Ordered Title
In some cases, courts can intervene to ensure consumers receive titles for vehicles they’ve paid for. By demonstrating proof of purchase and dealer licensing, consumers can compel lenders to release titles.

Case Study: CarMax as a Lender
CarMax, a significant player in the used car market, also serves as a lender for dealers. Dealers can finance cars purchased from CarMax auctions, expanding their inventory without immediate payment.

Dealer Default on CarMax Loans
However, some dealers fail to fulfill their financial obligations to CarMax, resulting in legal disputes and complications for both CarMax and consumers.

Risk of Multiple Floor Plans
Some dealers exacerbate the issue by obtaining financing from multiple sources, further complicating the title transfer process.

Navigating Title Transfer Issues
Consumers facing title transfer issues should seek assistance from local authorities, such as magistrates, courts, or the DMV licensing board. Legal intervention can help resolve these complexities.

Seeking legal guidance
For consumers grappling with title transfer problems, legal consultation can provide guidance on navigating these challenging situations effectively.

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Can I Title An Export Only Vehicle?

What Does “Export Only” Mean?
One common inquiry our sales department receives revolves around vehicles labeled with an “export only” title. These vehicles often appear on platforms like Copart or IAA, sparking confusion among buyers. While they may bear the label “clean title export only,” it’s crucial to understand the implications behind this designation.

The Export Only Conundrum
Many assume that a “clean title export only” vehicle is in good condition since it carries a clean title. However, the reality is quite different. The “export only” designation indicates that the vehicle can only be utilized for export purposes, not for domestic use. But why label it as “clean title export only”?

Deciphering the Label
The distinction is necessary due to regulatory constraints. Customs regulations prohibit the export of salvage or junk vehicles in one piece. Attempting to export such vehicles would result in rejection during inspection. Hence, insurance companies use the “export only” label to facilitate the removal of vehicles from the country’s market.

Navigating the Restrictions
While these vehicles may have clean titles, they cannot be titled or registered within the US. Every state, including Guam, Puerto Rico, and Washington DC, prohibits their registration. Despite appearances, attempting to title such vehicles domestically will lead to rejection by the DMV or similar authorities.

The Pitfalls of Export Only Titles
Buyers must be wary of the implications of purchasing vehicles with “export only” titles. Despite aspirations to register them domestically, these vehicles are bound for export only. Attempting otherwise could lead to complications and legal hurdles.

Challenges for Exporters
Even for exporters, navigating the export of salvaged or junk vehicles can be arduous. Customs regulations often necessitate dismantling vehicles into component parts for export. This process can be time-consuming and financially burdensome.

Beware of Salvage Titles
Even salvage titles may pose challenges for exporters. Despite appearing salvageable, some vehicles may be designated as “parts only” in federal records. Exporters should exercise caution when considering salvage vehicles for export.

Understanding the nuances of “export only” titles is essential for both domestic buyers and exporters. While these vehicles may seem appealing, their limitations can lead to significant complications. It’s crucial to thoroughly research and comprehend the implications before engaging in any transaction involving such vehicles.

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