Lots of people out there are wondering what's going on with Kaizo. As always, there is as much bad information, as good information. People misread, or take half truths and spin them into whatever they want to say. As we wrote earlier, federal agents searched and seized three vehicles, and records from Kaizo’s offices. Yesterday we spoke with Daryl Alison of Kaizo. He informed us that his lawyers have advised him not to speak with anyone about the on going investigation. There have not been any charges filed and the case is sealed.
Some of Kaizos customers have been contacted by ICE, and agents have come out and photographed cars, and asked questions. Here is an excerpt of one of the agents visits to a Kaizo car.
How did you first hear about Kaizo? Do you have the "blue plate" (the one that the cars from Japan have with the VIN)? Did Daryl Alison discuss the legality of the "installation" (i said, "what installation". he said, "nevermind")? Did the car come with an engine? What is the primary use of this vehicle? Were you able to title it for road use? Were was the car previously titled? Did Daryl Alison provide to you a Japanese owners manual? Did Daryl Alison provide documents on the importation of the vehicle? Did Daryl Alison provide any original Japanese paperwork?
He then proceeded to take detailed photos. Items of interest were head and tail light assemblies, side view mirrors, Kaizo serial numbers on firewall and door jam, speedo, odometer, and 3rd brake light.
He was interested in the writing scribed on the lenses of all the exterior lights, and in obtaining a photo of the engine serial #.... which he was not able to do,
We have been talking to many other owners of imported cars. In New Jersey a few owners have received letters asking for inspections of their vehicles. Some owners are talking about organizing, and coming together to really look at the convoluted laws . There is already a grassroots organization going on behind the scenes. The government treats imported parts as contraband, however they make it clear in the rules that its not illegal to import vehicle parts.
B. (2) Engine not in Vehicle or ChassisThis section under "kit car policy".
EPA regulates the entire vehicle, not individual parts, for cars, light trucks, and motorcycles. If an engine is not installed, and is to be used in a car, motorcycle, or light truck, it may be imported as an automotive part. No approval or Customs bond is required by EPA. Importers should be aware, however, that replacement of an engine in a U.S. version vehicle with an engine of a different type or model year which is not currently covered by an EPA certificate or will be covered by an EPA certificate prior to introduction into commerce may violate EPA regulations.
The production, sale and importation of automotive bodies alone (i.e., no chassis, engine or transmission) are not regulated by EPA since such units are not considered "motor vehicles" under the Clean Air Act. EPA form 3520-1 is not required for imported automotive bodies. A motor vehicle from which the engine has been removed is still a motor vehicle and is not considered a body.
No engine and no transmission is significant in accordance with DOT requirements.
A disassembled vehicle that is shipped without an engine and transmission is treated for importation purposes not as a motor vehicle, but instead as an assemblage of motor vehicle equipment items. Such an assemblage can lawfully be imported into the U.S., provided any equipment included in the assemblage that is subject to FMVSS, but was not originally manufactured to comply with that FMVSS or was not so certified by its original manufacturer, is removed from the assemblage prior to entry into the U.S. Equipment items that are subject to the FMVSS include tires, rims, brake hoses, brake fluid, seat belt assemblies, glazing materials, and lamps, reflective devices, and associated equipment.That is direct from the DOT website. So as far as importing car parts, or a disassembled vehicle to the US, its legal as long as the parts aren't anything that is covered by FMVSS.