It's only goods vehicles that are plated, a passenger car (Class M1) doesn't need a VCA plate. Most Jap imports are over 10 years old when imported as that means all they need is an MoT to register them but if they are less than 10 years old they need an IVA (Individual Vehicle Approval) test. If weights are not specified by the manufacturer, then they need to ascertain what the weights are.
From the relevant part of the IVA inspection manual:
_Axle weight Calculations
9 a. Obtain the “kerbside weight” of each axle using the provided equipment
The “kerbside weight” is the weight of the vehicle as presented, with no driver or passengers, a full fuel tank, an adequate supply of the necessary oils, water, fluids etc and no load other than tools and equipment normally carried.
Note: For Unmodified Mass Produced vehicles where Design Weight requirements have been declared full fuel tanks are not required. For these vehicles the missing fuel volume should be ascertained and added to the presented weight.
1 Litre petrol = 0.74kg
1 Litre diesel = 0.84kg
b. Using the “kerbside weight” and the appropriate passenger / luggage weight, calculate (see Annex 2)
the maximum permitted weight of each axle
the maximum gross vehicle weight.
The passenger / luggage weight to be used in the calculation is 68kg in each seat (including the driver’s seat) designated for use while the vehicle is travelling on the road, plus 7kg x the number of designated seats, the weight being distributed evenly in the luggage areas.
For motor-caravans additional loads must be calculated:
10kg x the number of designated seats
10kg per metre in length
loads representing 90% full fresh water and gas tanks
For wheelchair accessible vehicles the person and wheelchair weight is assumed to be 100kg
Note: ambulances must be presented with a stretcher of the type to be carried under normal operating conditions.
- A vehicle which is capable of towing must have a technically permissible towing mass which conforms with the information below
Where a vehicle is capable of towing a trailer fitted with a service braking system, the technically permissible maximum towable mass of the vehicle must not exceed either of:
the technically permissible mass of the towing vehicle, (OR, for off- road vehicles 1.5 times that mass (See note 3)
Where a vehicle is only capable of towing a trailer which is not fitted with a service braking system, then the technically permissible towable mass of the vehicle must not exceed either of;
half of the mass of the towing vehicle in running order,
So, in the case of an Elgrand or similar that was imported when under 10 years old, the weights would be calculated and entered on the IVA certificate, so it follows that for one that was too old to need to be put through an IVA test, same figures could be used. Fortunately, everything I've put through the IVA test have been European manufactured, but intended for the Russian market (don't ask....) so the test has been reasonably straightforward, addition of a rear fog light if one wasn't fitted on the right as standard, speedo showing MPH or MPH and KPH and headlights that dip the correct way.