Services & Business

Ensuring the ongoing safety and comfort of life with used cars

The pioneer of used car listing media in Japan

Car Sensor, one of the most iconic services in the Recruit Group, was initially launched in 1984 as Japan's first used car info magazine. This service allowed prospective buyers, who up to that point mainly had to actually visit dealerships to learn information on used cars, to instead gain access to listings through media. Car Sensor was also quick to meet the needs of the times by moving onto the Internet in 1996 as the website currently known as

Car Sensor

Car Sensor was also the first service to list details such as every car's odometer reading and repair history as part of its absolute adherence to a policy of safety, comfort, and trust. Furthermore, Car Sensor has evolved into the most reliable used car listing media in Japan through steps such as introducing an original quality assessment service in cooperation with a third-party inspection organization acclaimed for evaluating the most cars in the used car industry.

In recent years Car Sensor has transformed into a service that makes it even easier for anyone to find a used car at the best price by adding new features such as "Plan", which allows customers to select cars based on up to three conditions, "Honest Budget Consultation", which allows direct discussion of prices with dealerships, and "Price Review Data Mail", which notifies customers when a car they are interested in changes in price. All of this has firmly established Car Sensor's position as the most trusted used car info media in Japan.

"Japanese market experts who provide
only the highest quality of used cars"

Syunichirou Nishiwaki

There is no point in using the Internet if it doesn't reduce the sales price.

Based in Chiba Prefecture, Exsmart Japan sells affordable, high quality secondhand cars both online and at a brick and mortar dealership. Syunichirou Nishiwaki, the company's CEO, has a wealth of experience and knowledge thanks to a nearly 15-year career at major used car dealerships. This and his use of media such as Car Sensor have allowed him to earn a high level of satisfaction from his customers.

"A major point for customers who choose to go with a secondhand car rather than a new car is finding the car they want at a desirable price. In order to make this a reality, we at Exsmart regularly check auctions for wholesale dealers and work our hardest to eliminate unnecessary expenses so that we can offer the lowest prices possible."

"I make use of my experience at major used car dealerships when checking cars before I stock them, so I am able to reduce costs from various angles. The first is location. A general rule of thumb among used car dealerships is that you want to be located alongside a major road with lots of traffic in order to achieve maximum visibility. Exsmart is bit removed from any major roads, but this in turn has the benefit of keeping our rent low. Since there isn't much traffic, we don't get many people who just come in by chance, but spending less time waiting on customers allows us to devote even more attention to other tasks."

"The Internet is what supports our business in this situation. In fact, we attract the majority of our customers via our homepage and Car Sensor. We use Car Sensor because we share their business model of providing safety, comfort, and trust. This is represented in the way we always list the total price. Sometimes customers ask if there will be any additional fees, but we preempt this by listing prices that include every cost needed to actually drive a car from the lot after it's purchased such as commission, tax, insurance, change of ownership, legal inspection, and cleaning. Allowing customers to carefully go over this information beforehand has enabled us to achieve a sales ratio of 70 percent among people who come to our shop."

"I personally believe that there is no point in using the Internet if it doesn't reduce the sales price of a used car. We will continue to work alongside Car Sensor and uphold our policy at Exsmart so that we can provide the kind of cars our customers seek."


2-17, Sannou-chou, Inage-kun Chiba-shi, Chiba, 263-0002, Japan

Kouki Manabe
Used Car Division Director, Honda Cars Saitama

Earning customers' trust through kindness, attentiveness, and diligence

Honda Cars Saitama is the official dealership of Honda, one of the world's leading automobile manufacturers from Japan, for the southern Kanto region. With 46 new car dealers and 8 secondhand car dealers, it is one of Honda's largest bases for selling both new and certified pre-owned cars within Saitama Prefecture. Honda Cars Saitama provides thoroughgoing service to support the automotive lifestyle of all people as part of their role in upholding the automobile market of the past, present, and future.

"From the perspective of an automobile manufacturer, it's a given fact that selling as many new cars as possible is crucial. The reason for this is that there exists a cycle in the market where people eventually trade in their old cars in order to purchase new ones. However, it's also a fact that these trade-ins and buybacks also constitute a market for used cars. In other words, if people don't buy new cars there would be no secondhand car market. This is why we believe that growth in the used car market also in turn supports the new car business. It is due to this belief that we have been able to guarantee base earnings by combining the three elements of new cars, secondhand cars, and service. We are confident that Honda Cars Saitama is the strongest dealership in terms of these elements in the entire southern Kanto region."

"In order to efficiently sell top-quality used cars, every car we buy back is taken to our PDI (Pre-Delivery Inspection) center, where it spends eight days undergoing various processes such as bodywork, cleaning, change of ownership, online listing, and pricing before arriving on the actual sales lot. We use the time they spend there to interact with customers both in person and online. As of the present, our customer and sales data for used cars breaks down to 20 percent repeat customers (those who regularly come to us with orders), 20 percent walk-in customers, and 60 percent online customers. Over half of our online customers find us through Car Sensor, so it is plain to see that it is an invaluable tool for us. One of the most important of Car Sensor's many features is the "Favorite Message", which allows customers to contact us directly. If they contact us during business hours we strive to respond within three hours, or within ten hours at most if it is after hours. We do this because customers look favorably on kindness, attentiveness, and diligence."

"Japan is facing a lower birth rate and aging society at an earlier stage than other countries, and a big part of this is that many people are shifting away from material-based consumption towards experience or quality of life consumption. Given these circumstances, the automotive industry is also shrinking, but we will continue to offer the best new cars, used cars, and service possible in tandem with Car Sensor so that we can ensure a rich automotive life for future generations."

Honda Cars Saitama

5-3-6, Kamiochiai , chuo-ku, Saitama-Shi Saitama, 338-0001, Japan

Takahiro Muto
General Director
Japan Used Car Dealers Association

Demonstrating the proper state of the used car market

Founded in 1971, the Japan Used Car Dealers Association, or JUCDA, endeavors to facilitate and expand channels for the circulation of used cars and establish rational pricing systems. In particular, since the designation of the industry after the passing of legislation promoting the modernization of small to medium companies, the JUCDA has set up used car dealership commerce and industry associations all over Japan with the goal of maintaining reasonable prices and distribution, as well as prepared and operated car auction houses (distribution centers).

Part of this includes endeavors meant to ensure the future of the used car industry such as rationalization of distribution, certification training, registration, establishing information networks, corporate finance, and consumer protection. The JUCDA also works to provide safety and comfort by continuing to reliably supply customers with high quality secondhand cars through fair pre-owned vehicle transactions.

"Automobiles became commonplace in Japan when more reasonably priced cars spread during the late 1960s, and this in turn led to the birth of the used car market. It was right around this time that improper sales of cars with falsified meters also became an issue. So basically the 'market for lemons' that American economist George Akerlof described, in which the true quality of a car could only be discovered after it was bought, was also beginning to spread in Japan. The JUCDA was established in order to create and spread conventions that consumers can trust in the used car market."

"One part of this was setting up and operating auto auctions for specialized dealers. Our reason for doing this was that we believe auctions where everyone had equal purchasing rights would enable us to establish market prices, or in other words reasonable prices, for secondhand cars. However, the fact of the matter was that dealers weren't the only people who wanted to know these prices; the customers who were actually the end buyers of the cars wanted to know, too. At the time the only way to learn this information was to go to a dealership. Car Sensor was the pioneer of using various forms of media to give an even greater number of consumers the chance to learn the market prices of pre-owned vehicles."

"As the 'market for lemons' episode shows, there has always been a call for safety, comfort, and trust in the used car market. We strive to promote the spread of proper dealerships by issuing certifications through training and sharing of our knowledge. Car Sensor helps us earn even greater trust by providing the information consumers seek in ways such as listing the total price they will have to pay in the end, as well as displaying the last three digits of vehicle numbers to prevent decoy ads. We at the JUCDA hope that we and Car Sensor can use our respective positions to demonstrate the proper state of the used car market."

"As of the present, there are said to be over 60 million people searching used car listings online in Japan each day. As media is another point of contact with customers, its power is absolutely essential in guaranteeing that they continue to receive honest information. We hope that Car Sensor continues to uphold this role."

Japan Used Car Dealers Association

Car Sensor supports the used car market by providing a constant point of connection between clients and customers as Japan's first secondhand car listing media. In the days to come we will not only continue to pursue even greater convenience as a service among the massive and ever-growing number of listings available today, but also offer the types of ideas and features only we can provide so that people will enjoy an automotive life that is even more full of safety, comfort, and trust.

A wide variety of information for purchasing or replacing a vehicle, mainly featuring previously owned cars.

See also