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Canadian Car Buying (for Canadian Consumers)

guizmoguizmo Posts: 2
edited March 2014 in Chevrolet
I am from Canada and am in the market for a new car. How do I get to know dealer cost in this country? In the states, many companies offer this service but I've been looking all over for something similar in Canada and couldn't find a thing! Do the american companies offer such a service for canadian customers or is there a way to convert the american dealer cost into canadian dealer cost?



  • Guizmo -

    I looked a bit more and Edmunds says, "There is no surefire method that can be used to calculate Canadian invoice from U.S. pricing because of market-specific models, trim levels, and options. However, you might want to try calculating the percentage of markup between U.S. invoice and MSRP, and then applying that percentage to the Canadian car, working backwards from MSRP to establish a ball-park invoice amount."

    (The answer is in Edmunds' FAQ.)

    Hope this helps.

  • Thanx bud!

    Think it's the only way to go!
  • gypsymangypsyman Posts: 1
    I am 3 months pregnant and drive a Ford Festiva. Too small to cart a little one around. A friend suggested I buy a Chevrolet Malibu. I want to know the safest, most reliable vehicle on the market. What do you suggest??
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Hi Gypsy,

    Here's a government site that has very good crash test information. Probably the safest, most reliable car on the market, if there is such a thing all wrapped up in one car, would have a very nasty price tag...the crash testing helps to make a decision on safety, and you might try a site like for reliability issues.

    good luck,


    PS: Keep in mind that there is no such thing as a "safe car"...but some are safer than others...
  • RaptorRaptor Posts: 1
    You need to get with a car broker or try the APA in Toronto or Montreal. APA charges fees to get dealer invoice prices - or you join as a member.

    It is a scam compared to US where everything is here on the Web for all to see for free. In Canada, there is no competition for APA and no one putting on the Web.

    It needs to be done, but we are repressed up here it seems!!
  • albyalby Posts: 1
    If I have a small business , is it better to buy
    or lease my new vehicle , also I reside in Canada
  • Many people who own small businesses find that the tax advantages make leasing a vehicle extremely attractive. However, this is in the United States and I am not familiar with Canadian tax laws so this may be different in your country.
  • kennardkennard Posts: 1
    Dear Raptor (Gregg)

    What is the "APA"?


    Allan Kennard
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Dear Alby.....hi.....It's really best to check with your accountant before deciding if a lease or buying works best for you. Some types of business operations don't offer an advantage with leasing. I went over this quite thoroughly with my tax guy and he showed me that in my case leasing didn't work for, I'd say it depends on what you do and how you do it!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Thanks for that info, Scholes!

  • steveuksteveuk Posts: 1
    How do I find dealer prices in Europe?

    What relevance is it anyway?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    You could inquire at a specific dealer about their European delivery plan. Just numbers out there on a limb in a foreign currency aren't so relevent because you would also need to compare income levels and buying power to a European paycheck.
  • We are US residents, our daughter is a student in a University in Canada. We want to purchase a car for her. It seems like it would be beneficial for us to purchase the car in Canada because of the favorable exchange rate- One American dollar equals approv 1.5 Canadian. Are there reasons to think that this would not be a good deal?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Dear mjg,

    I think you'd need to investigate all the customs regulations and duties on importing new cars...I feel pretty certain that the US government has figured out all the ways to make this unprofitable. Maybe some of our visitors have first-hand info on the obstacles involved?
  • Thanks for the guidance. Seems like the manufacturers have set up restrictions on the sale of new cars to non Canadians. I also wonder if the cars are built to the same standards as cars built for the USA, i.e., emmission control. Am trying to locate an authority (US gov or Canadian) who can gives us the information but so far, I am only getting hearsay from dealers - some catious and others who seemingly would do anything to make a sale. Interest in the experience of anyone else in this area.
  • ike3ike3 Posts: 81
    To mjg31........
    Don't even think about it! Unless you plan
    on having your daughter plate and insure the
    car in the province she resides in....and then
    sell the car upon her graduation in Canada
    when she returns to the states.
    My experience tells me that some, but not
    all cars do meet both US Safety and Emissions
    requirements. To check for compliance, look
    for the EPA sticker in the engine hood or
    strut tower area. It is marked by the word
    "Catalyst" and there will be a written paragraph
    on the situation. Secondly, a safety and theft
    placard must be posted in the door jam of the
    drivers side. If only one is present, no good!
    Now, to complicate matters further, some
    actually do comply...but manufacturers and
    dealers near the border don't want US
    residents buying their could upset
    market conditions for the US dealers. So, I
    believe they deliberately will not put proper
    US stickers on...even though they do comply.
    If you really want to go through this bad
    enough, check with US Customs and a
    representative who works in auto importation.
    They will have a complete list of cars that do
    and don't comply. If your car is on that list,
    but does not have the right sticker...then you
    must write the manufacturer and ask them to
    provide one for you. Your US or Canadian
    dealer could help you there. But it helps if
    the car has already been plated in Canada
    first...because then if you decide you do bring
    it is now a used car, and the process may
    be a bit long as duties are paid.
    Hope that helps you out!
    Let us know what you do!
  • bnormannbnormann Posts: 335
    ...but looking for your topic isn't.

    There are several topics dealing with the
    differences of carbuying in Canada, but they are
    scattered and there is some duplication. This
    tells me that people are not finding the info they
    need, so a little reorganization is called for.

    For now, let's put all the discussions here and if
    we need to branch out, we can.

    Thanks, Bruce. your co-host
  • bnormannbnormann Posts: 335
    I'm moving several topics here:

    Canadian Car Buying

    in the hopes that we can all get together in ONE PLACE to discuss the issues with Canadian Car Buying.

    See you there....

    Bruce. your co-host
  • the_fishthe_fish Posts: 1

    I recently purchased a '97 Acura CL premium in Canada for about $5,000 less than I could have gotten it for here in Seattle. Though there was quite a bit of red tape involved, it wasn't impossible.

    For the full story see my post in conference 1650.
  • Another one of our Hosts came across a very interesting article on how to approximate Canadian Dealer Cost for vehicles. It was written for the Canadian Driver Web Site. I suggest that anyone who is shopping for a new car in Canada should check it out. Click here to go there: Do It Yourself Dealer Cost (for Canada).

    Smart Shoppers / FWI Host
  • I am in the process of buying a new car & going through the usual thing of trying to get a handle on Invoice costs in Canada.

    Thanks Car_man, that was an interesting article in Canadian driver & I will certainly check with the APA.

    But does anyone out there know whether the dealer holdback applies in Canada. 3 dealers I have spoken to all say there is no such thing. If there is no holdback then I've got to think its been replaced by some other benefit to the dealer. Help me please... knowledge is power.

    I do have access to Fleet pricing. Should I just go with that or is it possible to beat fleet pricing by negotiating with a dealer?

    Re many of the earlier postings about US vs Cnd prices... I believe the reason for the difference is very simple, the manufacturers price their product to meet the economic & competetive conditions in each market. The fact that Canadian prices are cheaper than in the US when converted at current exchange rates reflects the fact that Canadians cannot afford to pay the same prices. If GM tried to price their products at the $US price converted to $Cnd they would not sell enough cars, so they make them "cheaper" (lol) for Canadians.
    Don't forget that we also pay about 15% in sales tax when we buy a car in the Great White North.

    BTW it is nice to see some Canadian content on Edmunds.
  • I am sorry I posted the same message on another thread before I found this one.

    We are moving to Canada for about 2 years from the US. We also need to buy a vehicle and have been trying to find out if it is cheaper to buy one here or when we reach Canada.

    Now I know
    1. Canadian MSRPs seem cheaper after conversion to USD.
    2. 15% sales tax in Canada as opposed to 6% here. But are there other taxes to consider ?

  • grc5grc5 Posts: 4
    In Alberta, car sales tax just 7% (federal tax only), 15% elsewhere.

    plus: $100 air conditioning tax
    plus: luxury tax of $75
  • I just ordered a 2000 Olds intrigue GL. the MSRP + Delivery was $33,105 Cnd, I calculated the same car to be almost $40,000 Cnd converting edmunds MSRP @ $1.00 us = $1.50 Cnd.

    Incidently I saved almost $4,000 off MSRP by getting to a good fleet manager
  • I would just like to point out that you can get rough estimates of Canadian invoice prices are from the book called "Lemon Aid". This book give an excellent introduction to buying a car in Canada and gives a % figure on the markup for new cars or trucks. I believe the company that writes Lemon Aid is the affiliated with the Canadian APA(where you can get invoice prices from). The book is a good value for about $25 canadian. ex. I found out that there is a 3% holdback and 20% markup on Ford F150's here in Canada.
  • does anyone purchased an MPV 2000 ES. where in the greater Montreal. how much.

    thanks to all of you.
  • I think even if you knew what the Canadian invoice price of a car is, it's still very difficult to negotiate a good deal. My reasoning is that dealers in Canada are used to dealing with customers who has no knowledge of what the invoice price is. Instead of negotiating with respect to invoice price (what our American friends do), we negotiate with respect to the sticker price.

    Even if you are one of the few who knows what the Canadian invoice price of a car is, virtually no other buyer does. While everyone else is willing to pay near sticker price, you're offering 2-4% over invoice. Why should a salesman take your offer if he/she is getting a much better offer from the rest of his/her potential buyers ... well, unless they're really desperate for a sale.
  • I posted information on my purchase in the I30 postings, and my US price was $ 26,535 -- about $ 2500 US less than US price.

    I received a large number of emails, and responded with:

    This is a form letter I drafted due to the large response from the Edmunds site. It should be easy for you to find a US broker near you -- and with the larger dealers in Ontario anyway it may be easier -- the taxes would still apply but I don't know what Ontario's provincial rate is -- again you would get it back.

    Here is the scoop on importing a new car from Canada:

    This isn't easy, or says all the research materials I found -- so when/if you contact the dealer keep this in mind if they say it's easy. I have included some web-links below that point to US Customs, Dept of Transportation, and EPA -- all of whom have some bureaucratic rules that have to be followed in importing a vehicle into the US.

    Some of the restrictions on pollution controls, safety equipment, etc should be okay as our Canadian and provincial laws are similar to the U.S. == in fact, here in British Columbia our EPA-type laws were based largely on California's strict standards.


    The Canadian dollar hasn't been too strong lately - based on conversion rates today a loaded 2000 i30 Luxury with all options except Communicator (options included s/roof, heated seats and mirrors, traction control) that MSRP shows as $ 30,185 US can be had here for about $ 27,500 US (I paid before tax $ 26, 535 US).


    1. Availability of 2000 i30 is now as bad as the Maxima GLE/SE (got mine just in time) (COMMENT 99/11/03 - more available now)
    2. You have to pay upfront 7% Canadian tax and 10% B.C. provincial tax -- but you get them back - you have to send rebate forms in.
    3. You will have to deal with a US import broker because of the US government requirements (you may need a US spec speedometer for example).
    4. You will have to pay 2.5% US duty because the vehicle wasn't manufactured in Canada.

    Having said all this, according to the dealer it would still work out that you would save about $ 1000-2000 US overall if, and the big if... they could get stock.

    Similar savings would be apparent on the Maxima if you could get it. At first glance there are whopping big savings on Mercedes (how about a 1999 C230 Classic at $ 25,500 US) but when I enquired he said it doesn't work. M-B voids the warranty if you buy the car here and take it to the US. According to the local dealer the Nissan/Infiniti warranty would be honored in the US, but obviously this is high on the checklists.

    More info:

    <<A HREF="">>;

    <<A HREF="">>;

    <<A HREF="">>;

    For more information on cars in Canada, one of the best sites I have found is:

    <<A HREF="">>;

  • If your buying a "hot" seller of course the salesman might not want to budge from his sticker price. But after finding the invoice price on my Grand Am GT I went to my local dealership with a list of 10 other dealers within a 2 hr drive from my home. I got a very nice deal.

    Now 2-4% might not be enough in the Canadian car market, I would use 3% as a starter and see where that gets you. I ended up paying 6% over but it was still $1200 cheaper than the best deal I was quoted without the invoice prices in my hand.
  • Anyone able to get better thanlist price on this model in Toronto area>
  • jhyattjhyatt Posts: 1
    I'm looking at purchasing a new car (Hyundai Tiburon), but since I'll be moving to the US within a year, I'm concerned about whether my Canadian warrantee will still be valid in the US. For that matter, since Hyundai's warrantee is so much better state-side, could you buy a car in the US and import it here, still getting the better warrantee? Anyone have any experience getting warantee work done cross-border?
  • anonymousanonymous Posts: 314
    Many Canadians do find it frustrating to find good information on paying a fair price for any new car. Saying this and having learned by past experiences, I want to let people know that Edmunds new vehicle pricing although in US dollars is pretty close to Canadian retail invoicing once you convert the dollar at an average rate of 1.4555. Further, with Ford as an example, yes there is a 20% mark-up on average. Others suggest there is a 15% percent difference on the base unit price while there is a 13% difference on selected options. Still, again, those on the inside report that there is anywhere between an $8000 to $10,000 mark-up on any new truck. This is well qualified when the Canadian consumer does his/her homework and watches the prices established by legitimate dealer advertising or having a salesperson inadvertently let you see the dealer retention value on, let's say a 2000 Ford XLT 4X4 Supercab: listing at $38,792, but dealer cost shows an A-Plan(**) retention of $32,386. If you do the math on the aforementioned, you'll note more than a 16% difference, and, yes, shopping at the end of the month will get you a deal that you'll be happy in signing. ** Ford has two Plans - A & B - which refer to sub-retail pricing and NOT retail. If you manage to view the B-Plan price/retention (dealer cost), you'll save even more. Finally, never forget that it's your money that is being parted with. If you don't like what you hear, walk away.
  • mr_quagmr_quag Posts: 28

    For car buying, I was told that if you use ratios and whatever you can find the approximate Canadian invoice price. Is this correct? Well...I used percentage...I found that for the Subaru Legacy L, the MRSP is 110% of the invoice. Does this sound correct?

    Also, one dealer offered me a 3% dealer markup off the invoice price. What do you think of that? Good? So-so? Bad? Let me know please.

  • shawnxshawnx Posts: 3
    I'm Canadian and recently, in June 2000, bought a 1999 Pontiac Firebird Trans-Am from a GM dealer in Vancouver. It was a clearance sale, and my car was still new and unregistered.

    From Edmund's, the 1999's original MSRP was us$30,460 (~cd$45,700), and invoice was us$27,871 (~cd$41,800). Now, as an used car, Edmund's lists its market value as us$25,270 (~cd$37,900) and trade-in as us$21,300 (~cd$32,000).

    With the 17% tax in BC, I paid cd$41,000 for the car in total. That means the effective sales price was ~cd$35,000 (~us$23,500). So, the price on this unregistered new Canadian car was almost us$2,000 lower than its estimated Edmund's market value as an used vehicle, and my base warranty lasts until mid-2003. Moreover, my price included a Ram-Air hood (just the hood, no air-induction system), which was part of an us$2,300 option which I did not apply for getting Edmund's prices.
  • shawnxshawnx Posts: 3
    (Well, I approximated prices with a 1.5cd:1us exchange rate. The actual exchange rate today is 1.4843cd:1us.)
  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJPosts: 3,516
    Hi shawnx

    Sounds like you did well for yourself - enjoy your T/A!

    Co-Host - Smart Shopper & FWI Conferences Town Hall
  • Canadiancars, I certainly appreciate the fact that you are willing to help consumers answer any questions that they may have about purchasing a vehicle in Canada. However, in my opinion your last post really was nothing more than a toned down version of the advertisements that I previously deleted. Please keep in mind that it is a violation of the Town Hall Participant's Agreement to solicit business in this forum. Feel free to continue to post in this area in the future without trying to drum up business. Thanks.

    Smart Shoppers / FWI Co-Host
  • In addition to the APA site, another resource for Canadian dealer invoice prices is Unlike in the US, you have to pay for this information (sigh). They have a variety of packages depending on the number of cars you want to check out.
  • kelfkelf Posts: 83
    are the canadian prices for Euro delivery(ED) for BMW, MB or Volvo cheaper than for USA dealers? can you order the cheaper car from a canadian dealer then have the car shipped from europe to the US istead to canada? is this a possible effective way to save $? direct; [email protected]
  • kelfkelf Posts: 83
    Please post what Canadien provinces have the lowest tax rates of different kind? Is it true that some charge extra for air conditioning? Do canadien dealers offer European Delivery? [email protected]
  • pvm10pvm10 Posts: 1
    Is list or selling price in Canada greatly reduced? We always have to pay local sales tax, so purchase price is only saving possible? Any problem bringing to states? import tax? Vehicle warranty? I am also interested in suburban or Yukon xl. [email protected]
  • luthor1luthor1 Posts: 15
    Anyone who bought the 2001 accord coupe ex v6 I would appreciate to hear what you paid as I am planning on buying in the next few weeks and don't really know how much over invoice their selling at, thank you.
  • lofquistlofquist Posts: 281
    Since my name came up again I'll cross-post here what I posted in one of the other Canadian buying forums (with a couple updates):

    - - - - - - - -
    Buying a new car in Canada is not a problem
    at all, no matter what you hear. I just bought a 2001 Nissan Pathfinder in the Toronto area and took it home to Minnesota. The most painless buy ever for me and I saved close to $4000. You just have to do a little research. The big savings of course is because of the strong US dollar.

    Emissions and safety. There has not been a single car sold in Canada for the last three model years that does not meet US requirements. The manufacturer will give you a compliance letter saying that.

    Taxes. You do need to pay some Canadian sales taxes (depends on province). But the govt sends you back a refund check if you take the vehicle out within 30 days (new vehicles only).

    Customs. Just show the compliance letter, get the paperwork from them and drive on. Pay duty (2.5% cars and SUV's, 25% on trucks) only if vehicle was not built in the US or Canada (remember NAFTA?).
    Registration. Just like registering any other vehicle in your state. Same taxes as if you bought it down the street. You do need to show the Customs paperwork to prove it was imported legally.

    Warranty. Most all manufacturers honor the warranty in the US. For me Nissan verified this and put it into the US system with just a phone call. (Honda is an exception here - they won't honor the warranty in the US).

    Speedo/odo in km. Change it to miles if it bothers you. Both my local dealer and the state DMV said no big deal either way. A good speedo shop can do this and provide documentation that it was done legally and properly.

    Dealers. Many in Canada ready and willing to do business. The dealer that I bought from sells a number of brands and will take all the US business he can get. I did the transaction over the phone. This dealer and a couple others I know across Canada will discount deeply to just over invoice.

    I'll be glad to help anyone with the details. As I said, it's actually easy. Yes, there are a few forms and a little work on your own part. But potentially you can save a bundle.

    [email protected]
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
  • mack20mack20 Posts: 40
    I live in Toronto Canada. However I just visited a couple of used cars dealers that are unrelated.

    I got the VIN's of a couple of cars that I was intersted in. Using CARFAX, the regisration for all three was Quebec. Furthermore there were two-three registration changes. The cars were Accords, 93, 94 with 70000km, 99000km and 140000km.

    The prices on these cars are pretty good. Cheaper than I have seen around.

    Has anyone heard anything about cars from Quebec? I though I heard that odometer rollback was quite popular there....

    just though I would check.
  • mack20mack20 Posts: 40
    I need some Used Car Dealer Recommendations for the Toronto, Canada area....

    Looking for a sedan...probably Japanese...probably Honda!

    I've been around for the last week or two. Its really hard work!!
  • bcbobbcbob Posts: 13
    Just did a factory order here in BC. Had dealer invoice info from APA and Also had the dealer cost formula from, which came in within a couple hundred dollars of the other two.

    Here's what my shopping experience tells:
    #1. Having the dealer cost info did for me what it does for our neighbours to the south - enabled me to start negotiations from invoice up instead of MSRP down. No anxiety wondering what to offer the dealer, no fear over the negotiation process. In fact, as soon as the dealers heard that I had been researching via the internet they didn't fool around with any of the usual pricing games, most just gave me their bottom line and let me decide whether I wanted to buy or not. Price was negotiated in a matter of minutes, no stress, no hassle. Just pleasant shopping.

    #2. The dealer invoice price seems to be the actual dealer cost. No holdback beyond dealer invoice as there is in the US. Dealer invoice, plus ~9.25% mark-up, 3% holdback, 2% advertising, destination charge, and minus any factory invoice credits (the Canadian Driver formula), pretty much totals up to the MSRP. So buying at or below invoice like in the US doesn't seem to be realistic; these guys have to eat too.

    #3. You can't simply convert $USD prices to $CAD
    prices. Canadian prices are generally lower. GM acknowledged this when it raised 2001 prices to bring the profitablity of Canadian sold cars more in line with US sold cars. So unless the ratios are the same, we can't use the the pricing info available on the internet. Unfortunate, I really envy the Americans for having things like Edmund's TMV. Hope they realize how good they have it.

    #4. While having the dealer invoice info greatly improved that end of the buying process, the hassle at the business office end is still there. And I haven't even experienced the high pressure sales for extended warranty, paint protection, fabric protection, etc, yet. Thank you Edmund's, Lemonaid, and all the other folks who educate consumers on this stuff, I'm prepared to say no to paint and fabric protection, and to negotiate for the extended warranty. Wonder how much cheaper and more pleasant buying a car would be if the number of unnecessary dealership people a buyer had to pass through were reduced?

    #5. Canadian dealers like to run the documentation fee scam too. For some reason they don't seem to think that filling out the tax and registration forms, typing up the sales contract, etc., is part of the cost of doing business. Many are proud that theirs is only $95, and spring it on you as an added cost, well after you've negotiated your price. My dealer backed off when I refused to pay it but they weren't too pleasant about it. I seriously considered walking out and, looking back, maybe I should have. We'll see what transpires when the car actually arrives from the factory.

    #6. Compared to Americans, Canadian buyers are really disadvantaged when it comes to 3rd party extended warranties. There are a lot of them available on the internet but not too many sell to Canadians. And those that do are US based, which raises the complications of paying $USD premiums and deductables, and I don't even want to think about consumer protection rights in the event there's a dispute. Canadian-based extended warranties seem to only be available through dealers, so you know that unless you can find a couple dealers willing to compete with each other, they've got us over a barrel. Carcostcanada told me they hope to make an extended warranty available sometime in the future, hope it's soon. I'd love to hear about other Canadian's experiences with extended warranties, both factory and 3rd party. Maybe we should start a topic on it in the Finance & Warranty section?

    Can't wait to see what happens when the car arrives. In shopping I chose dealer quality over lowest price. Hope I didn't choose wrong.
  • jb47jb47 Posts: 1
    I'm trying to buy a 2001 Honda Civic DXG-4AT and the first dealer I contacted quoted me a price of $21900, he eventually came down to $21880 after another dealer quoted $200 less. I then contacted yet another dealer and told him I was looking for $20,850 on the road. He has indicated that he will honor such a price. Can anyone tell me if this sounds like a good deal.
    This is just the basic model with the air conditioning, radio, cd, audio anti-theft and power locks group option.
  • It helps to look at some websites that gives Canadian auto info and MRSP, and most of them will hook you up with a local dealer that will give you a decent quote.

    Some sites to try:

    All these sites will let you do comparisons on Canadian models, which is not always the same or available in the US (e.g. Civic Si-R, and Acura EL). Like they say "knowledge is power."

    There are probably others, but these are the ones I look at most. My friend saved a couple of thousands (compared to the best dealer price he could've gotten on his own) on his Accord by going through AutoByTel. I am waiting for delivery of my 2001 Acura EL. I will probably write an article about my experience once the deal is complete.

    Still waiting for the EDMUNDS.CA website ;-)
  • wmawma Posts: 12
    Where can i get the really invoice in Ontario Canada????? Anybody knows? I do know carcostcanada, anything eles??? Please, thank you
  • bcbobbcbob Posts: 13
    also will give you dealer cost info. But like, you have to pay for it (or join). has a formula for estimating dealer cost, which seems pretty close, at

    Carcostcanada was closest to the dealer cost data a dealer showed me. But the APA has counsellors to advise you if you become a member.
This discussion has been closed.