Archive for the ‘FAQ’ Category

Canadian vs. U.S. 2008 vehicle MSRP prices

Tuesday, April 1st, 2008

Many people have wrote in asking how much they can actually save on a vehicle imported from the USA versus the same model vehicle puchased in Canada. Typically a vehicle imported a car imported from the USA, even after fees, taxes and other costs, is about 20-30% cheaper than one bought in Canada, but in some cases, some vehicles are as much as 50% cheaper.

Below is a list of common vehicles, and their Canadian an US MSRP prices to be compared. Obviously exact prices and savings would depend on the model and package of a specific vehicle. But, to give an idea, here are the 2008 vehicle MSRP prices from both countries: (more…)

Why are Canadian Car Prices So Much Higher in Canada than in the U.S.A.?

Monday, April 9th, 2007

There is a lot of stipulation about why Canadian Car prices are so much higher in Canada than in the U.S.A.

If you ask an average person why they think the prices would be higher in Canada, you would probably get a response like “The exchange rate” or “It must be the cost of bringing it across the border”. However, thousands of people each year are traveling south of the border to buy a car in the U.S.A. to save money. If any Canadian can drive down to the U.S.A., purchase a car, import it, and still manage to save a significant amount of money, why can’t the car companies?

The truth is that it’s not just the Canadian car market, there are many markets that have been lazy in changing their pricing, regardless of the strength of the Canadian Dollar versus the American dollar. Look at new books, for example. Some new books that cost $3.99 in the U.S.A. still cost $5.99 here in Canada, when in actuality, our currency is practically on par.

Personally, I like to look to save money wherever I can. When I found out that it was much easier and cheaper than I thought to import a car into Canada, I felt it necessary to spread the word to other Canadians about how much money we are litterally handing over to lazy car companies that don’t feel the need to adjust their prices

Here is a video from DrivingTelevision on Global that talks about this subject exactly.

What is a Recall Clearance Letter?

Thursday, March 29th, 2007

A recall clearance letter is a required document for importing a vehicle into Canada that states that your vehicle is free from safety defects that resulting from the manufacturing process. This document will be unique to the vehicle you are importing and can be obtained either from an authorized American dealership or from the manufacturer themselves. If you get the recall letter from a dealership, make sure they are in fact an authorized dealer, and also ensure that the document has the manufacturer’s logo or stamp on it, as well as the vehicle’ VIN number, as this is a requirement to complete the RIV program.

Here is a list of phone numbers you can contact to get a recall clearance letter for the major vehicle manufacturers:

Audi -Recall documentation can be obtained from head office by calling 1-800-822-2834 or RIV will accept an internal system report from a U.S. dealership on letterhead or with dealer stamp.
BMW -Recall documentation can be obtained from head office by calling 1-800-831-1117 or RIV will accept an internal system report from a U.S. dealership on letterhead or with dealer stamp.
Chrysler – Recall documentation can be obtained on the internet at www .daimlerchrysler .ca or RIV will accept a VIP printout from a dealership on letterhead or with dealer stamp.
Ford -Recall documentation can be obtained from www.ford.com; head office by calling 1-800-392-3673 or RIV will accept an OASIS or Ford Confidential printout from a dealership on letterhead or with dealer stamp.
General Motors -Recall documentation can be obtained from GM Vintage Vehicle Services by calling 1-888-467-6853.
Honda, Acura -Recall documentation can be obtained from the internet at www.honda.com. You must register with the ownerlink, and print the recall specification page or printout/letter from a U.S. dealership on letterhead or with dealer stamp.
Jaguar -Recall documentation can be obtained from www.ford.com; head office by calling 1-800-452-4827 or RIV will accept an internal system report from a dealership on letterhead or with dealer stamp.
Mazda -Recall documentation can be obtained by filling out a Recall Clearance Letter Request Document and Sending it in to Mazda. Click here for more information on Mazda Recall Clearance Letters, or click here to download the Mazda Recall Clearance letter request document.
Mercedes-Benz -Recall documentation must be obtained from head office by calling 1-800-367-6372.
Mitsubishi -Recall documentation can be obtained from head office by calling 1-800-222-0037 or RIV will accept an internal system report from a U.S. dealership on letterhead or with dealer stamp.
Nissan -Recall documentation can be obtained from head office by calling 1-800-647-7261 or RIV will accept an internal system report from a U.S. dealership on letterhead or with dealer stamp.
Toyota– Recall documentation can be obtained from head office by calling 1-800-331-4331 or RIV will accept an internal system report from a U.S. dealership on letterhead or with dealer stamp.
Volkswagen -Recall documentation can be obtained from head office by calling 1-800-822-8987 or RIV will accept an internal system report from a U.S. dealership on letterhead or with dealer stamp.
Volvo -Recall documentation can be obtained from Volvo Cars of North American head office by calling 1-800-458-1552. Volvo Cars being imported will also require a Letter of Admissibility.
Click here for a full list of Recall Clearance Letter contacts with more vehicle manufacturers!

What should I watch out for when purchasing a vehicle to import into Canada?

Tuesday, March 27th, 2007

As with any vehicle purchase, you need to excercise caution when purchasing a vehicle from the US to import into Canada. Some things you need to watch out for include:

  • Check to make sure you are aware of the vehicle’s emissions status. As of March 19th 2007 there is an excise tax charged on fuel inefficient vehicles. A list of vehicles and their excise taxes (if any) can be found here or you can search a specific model here.
  • Make sure there are no outstanding U.S. debts on the vehicle. – US Customs will not let vehicles be exported if the title is not in your name and paid for in full.
  • Beware of Flood Damaged vehicles – check with the seller and get an AutoCheck report. Although you are legally entitled to import these vehicles, they are branded as “Salvage” title after importation. Each province has their own way of dealing with this, but in some provinces this means they are ‘non-repairable’ and can only be used for parts.
  • If you are buying on eBay, never deal with the seller off of eBay. In other words, always use eBay’s messaging/mailing system rather than your own email. Many times this is an attempt to scam you, and with a vehicle purchase, there is a lot of money to be lost.
  • Always call to talk to the seller and get a feel for what kind of person they are. You may have to trust your instinct if something smells fishy.
  • Watch out for ‘a little rust’. Although many vehicles from the southern United States are generally rust-free, many of the northern states use salt to de-ice the roads just like some provinces. Some of these vehicles travel south from time to time and therefore could still have rust as well. A little rust could mean a lot – so get a Carchex inspection to make sure what you see on paper is what is on the car
  • Double check VIN numbers. Always make sure the number on the title is the same as on the vehicle. You will not be able to import the vehicle at all if these do not match – you will be shit outta luck and the seller will likely be on his way to Mexico with your money.
  • Make sure it’s not stolen. Run the VIN number at the police station if your suspicious, otherwise the title and the AutoCheck report should be enough to tell.
  • Make sure you havent forgotten any of the costs involved. Don’t forget possible travel expenses, food, gas. Factor everything in. MyBorderPro does a good job of estimating all the fees, but make your own chart to make sure you know what your in for – and be realistic.

What happens if my Car fails Federal inspection?

Sunday, March 25th, 2007

If your car does not pass the inspection you have 45 days to fix anything up that it may need and then pay for a second inspection.

If for whatever reason you know you can’t pass the inspection¬† within the 45 limit, you have to give RIV a call and let them know that you are having trouble. They claim that they may be able to work something out, but don’t rely on it.
If your vehicle does not pass inspection within 45 days and you do not notify RIV, your probably screwed, you failed the RIV program and it literally has to be sent back to the USA without the refund of any fees or taxes you will have paid.

You may be able to re-import it but will have to pay all the necessary fees and taxes.

What do I do when I arrive at home in Canada with my new Vehicle?

Sunday, March 25th, 2007

Now that you’ve Crossed the border, once you get home, RIV will send you a second form (Federal Inpection Form 2) within 10 days of having submitted Form 1 at the border.

Once you recieve 2, get the modifications done that are needed for your vehicle. All of them. You have 45 days to do this, but don’t take your sweet ass time just in case for whatever reason the inspection fails.

Now that the modifications are complete, take all the necessary documentation to your nearest Canadian Tire where they will provide a free federal inspection in compliance with the RIV Program.

If your car passes, you’re Golden, just take the stamped form 2 and form 1 to your nearest Motor Vehicle Office and get the car registered. Here you will have to pay your provincial sales tax, whatever that may be, and get it plated.

If your car does not pass the inspection you have 45 days to fix anything up that it may need and then pay for a second inspection. If you can’t make it happen within 45 days, your screwed, you failed the RIV program and it literally has to be sent back to the USA without the refund of any fees or taxes you will have paid. If this happens, you probably did not read this website. You may be able to re-import it but will have to pay all the necessary fees and taxes.

What do I do at the Border?

Sunday, March 25th, 2007

If the car you are importing is newer than 15 years older you are required to pass the RIV program in order to import the car into Canada.

You will be required to stop on the American side of the border and show them your original title documents to be compared with the photocopies that you must fax in at least 72 hours in advance.

Once this is complete you can proceed to the Canadian border crossing area where you will park your car. You will have to do the following:

  • Show them your passport and valid driver’s licence.
  • Show them your temporary American registration permits and possibly your insurance information.
  • Have ready your bill of sale, title documents, and recall clearance letter.
  • You will have to fill out Form 1 – Vehicle import form
  • You will have to pay your RIV fee (Usually $209 CAD)
  • You will have to pay 5% GST
  • If the car car has Air Conditioning you will have to pay $100 excise tax
  • If the car you are importing is high emissions you will be charged a high emissions excise tax
  • If the car was not originally assembled in North America you will have to pay duty, however most cars are.
  • Once the paperwork is complete and all the fees and taxes are paid up, you will be able to drive one through.

That’s it for at the border! Of course there are still just a few more additional steps to take once you arrive home!

What kind of Documents and Paperwork are needed to Import a Car into Canada?

Sunday, March 25th, 2007

There are a number of necessary documents you will need and have to fill out over the course of importing your vehicle into Canada. This is relatively straight forward so I will try and create somewhat of a “Document checklist” for importing a vehicle into Canada.

  • Vin Number – Get the VIN number first if you don’t already know it.
  • Insurance Papers – Some insurance companies require that you have registration information upfront, but usually just the VIN number will do until you get the Vehicle properly registered.
  • Registration – If you are buying from a dealer, they will provide you with temporary permits, if not, you will need to go purchase one from the local Motor vehicles office. If you are driving through more than 1 state on the way back to Canada and did not purchase from a dealer, this will be tricky because you will need a temporary permit for each state that you drive through. Once you reach Canada, your American temporary permits are sufficient enough to drive home with, as long as you have the Completed Form 1 (see below) with you.
  • Title Documents – You will need to fax in a copy of this 24 hours in advance to the US customs at the border where you plan on crossing into Canada. The original copy will be required at border crossing for US customs to compare.
  • Statement of Compliance Label and Recall Clearance Letter – If you are not purchasing from your vehicles authorized manufacturer dealership, Contact the vehicle’s Authorized Manufacturer dealership and they will provide this.
  • Sales Receipts – Obviously, but don’t forget them as you will not be able to register your new vehicle without them.
  • Credit Card – Canada Border Services agency does not accept cash, maybe not even debit. Your best bet is to have a valid credit card so that you can pay any charges you encounter.
  • Vehicle Import Form 1 – Canada customs will provide you with this at the border, so there is no need to fill this out just yet, but take a look to make sure you won’t have any problems filling it out. The other option would be to fill this form out and fax it to RIV. Either way keep this form in the vehicle until you get home.
  • Federal Inspection Form 2 – They will mail this to you within 10 days of submitting Form 1 to RIV (either at border crossing or by having faxed it in). My understanding is that you can have this emailed to you aswell. Anyhow, Once you have recieved it, get any modifications necessary for your vehicle to pass inspection done and then bring all the above documents to your closest Canadian Tire within 45 days to have the Inspection done. This will get stamped along with Form 1 and you can proceed to get your vehicle registered.

Is there anyone that can import the car to Canada for me?

Sunday, March 25th, 2007

Yes.

If you are thinking of importing a car into Canada from the U.S.A. but do not care for paperwork, there are a couple of sources you should look into

First, If you are not planning on going to pick up the vehicle from the USA yourself, you will need a vehicle shipper to go pick it up for you from the dealership. Ebay Canada recommends DAS Auto Shippers. They are a highly a experienced vehicle shipping company that can provide you with an online shipping quote and even online tracking of your vehicle once the vehicle has begun shipment. They will even deliver it right to your door.

The other service you can look into is customs brokerage. Whether you are shipping your vehicle not, if you are not interested in taking care of the necessary paperwork needed to import a vehicle into Canada you will want to have a customs broker like A&A Customs Brokers. If you are in fact shipping the vehicle however, some shipping company’s will require that you use a customs broker in order to make the shipping and importing to go seamlessly.

What types of modifications are required to Import a vehicle into Canada?

Saturday, March 24th, 2007

The modifications required to import a vehicle into Canada will vary from model to model. Generally the modifications involved usually have something to do with the Child tether anchorage system in the vehicle, the speedometer and odometer labels need to have metric numbers, and it needs to have working daytime running lights.

All cars built after Nov. 89 require DRLs (Daytime Running Lights). If you are handy with electrical, you could probably wire this up yourself. If not, try and find someone who may know, because this can cost up to $100 to have them wired up, including labour & relay.
A child restraint tether anchor is required. The kit is about $4.95 at Canadian Tire, Walmart, etc.

In some cases, for example, some Mercedes Benz vehicles, the dealership will need to be contacted in order to make sure that the necessary parts will be available to perform the necessary modifications required to complete the importation process.