The Japanese automobile industry, despite any problems it may have experienced recently, continues to thrive, especially when it comes to the used car market. Mickael Minot and the team at JCE Autos work with buyers from around the world to provide them with top class service and the best cars available, all for very reasonable prices. Their multinational, multilingual background ensure that they are poised to address the automobile needs of Tokyo’s expat community.

What is your background and how did you arrive at your current position?

After completing my degree and working in London in 2002, Japan was next on my radar. Coming here was not only for the professional challenge of establishing myself in the country, but also to finally live my passion for Japanese culture. I have practiced karate for more than ten years, and have also developed a fascination for tea ceremony and bonsai (which has been a hobby since I was 14 years old). Upon arrival in Japan, I studied Japanese for one year and reached a conversational level. My first job here was as a commercial officer at a Volkswagen dealership. Luckily, I enjoy cars and sales, so I have been working in the Japanese used car market for seven years. I joined JCE earlier this year.

Can you tell us a bit about your company?

JCE is a leading car business agency, and I am incredibly proud to be a part of this dynamic company. We are made up of a strong multinational team of six, with members from New Zealand, Canada, the Caribbean, Japan and France. We call ourselves ‘the fantastic six.’

Synergy, extreme motivation, and clear and logical objectives make for undeniable success.

What are the Japan-specific challenges your business faces?

The real challenge is the cultural differences between our service providers and our customers. Most of our Japanese providers follow their routines and the Japanese way of work. But to meet our customers’ needs, we have to be quick and flexible, and we often have to push our providers to change and adapt themselves to our customers’ requirements.

From a business point of view, what do you think are the main differences between the Japanese and international markets?

Focusing on our market that is used cars, the Japanese car market is a fantastic field. We can’t find barely used cars overseas at such very good prices. Most of the cars on sale in Japan have been maintained in near perfect condition, with regular checks from the official dealer. I have seen Ferrari’s with only 2,000 or 3,000km being sold for 40 percent cheaper than new ones, plus 20-year-old cars in as-new condition—unbelievable elsewhere in the world. Every week 20,000 cars are auctioned for sale. The auction place is bigger than Disneyland! We at JCE also sell new cars, and Japan is probably the only place in the world where you can have a brand new car custom built to your specifications and delivered in four to six weeks.

What sets your company apart from its competitors?

Our company is well balanced with complementary, multi-skilled staff. On top of that, we have tremendous team motivation; we are really dynamic and aspire to ever higher levels of customer service. Prospective customers only need to call us or send an e-mail for any car inquiry, and they will understand just what I am talking about.

Please briefly describe your business philosophy.

We have to be able to say yes at all times, and to be quick and precise, for we always wish to take the JCE image higher. Our company motto is ‘the automotive professionals,’ and we really pride ourselves on being experts in our field.

What kind of advice would you give to aspiring professionals?

Synergy, extreme motivation, and clear and logical objectives make for undeniable success.