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The specification appears to be superior to UK spec but price is the same making these cars an attractive proposition.
There is though one important difference:
Japanese and all far-Eastern spec. vehicles do NOT have passive immobilisation of the engine-starting circuit as do Euro. spec cars. Whilst this may not seem significant, they will not meet the expectation of British Insurance companies who base their quotes on UK spec. because they have made the assumption that this device is fitted.
This will only be a problem if the owner makes a claim for theft. To be told that the insurance is invalid at a time when you are car-less would be bad news indeed, not to mention expensive.
The other issue is a longer term one. Imported vehicles carry a sort of social stigma in the car world. You only have to look at the values of imported older MG's such as the A and the B to see that people prefer home-market cars and this is reflected in their comparative values.
Mazda in the UK have a large problem building fast in the trade of these "grey" imports which come in through Ireland. Glasses guide, the trade's own valuation guide, is constantly warning dealers to be aware of the origin of a vehicle because of the effect on retail value.
UK MGF dealer index