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Importing Canadian Vehicles to the U.S.



  • So you are saying it's ok for a company like Ford to take advantage of exchange rates and lower labor costs by moving production to whatever country they chose, but it's not ok for customers to try to take the very same advantage as the manufacturer.

    Sorry, if it is right for Ford (or others) to produce where labor and exchange rates are in their favor, then they should allow their customers to do the very same.

    I guess I'm just a big boy scout, expecting a company to act in a non hypocritical fashion.

    Yes, I know businesses are in the business of making money. However, they should try to take advantage of their competitors, not their customers. It makes for happier customers.

    And no, I wouldn't be upset. I would want smart happy customers, and stand behind my product. I would require a certification to ensure that the vehicle didn't get the odometer set back, requiring an authorized dealer of my product do any conversion at the price they set to keep the warranty in effect.

    I think it is reasonable to put reasonable conditions on the warranty, but to simply deny coverage because your customer understands math and exchange rates doesn't earn any customer satisfaction.

    If my production costs are the same, I do give up some profit margin to sell in a different country, or maybe I make more by selling in the country. But one would hope that I'm not selling at a loss in that country, because then it makes no sense to sell there at all in the long term.

  • landru2landru2 Posts: 638
    to take advantage of currency exchange rates for personal gain at the expense of other consumers (in this case Canadian consumers)! To heck with them right?

    Yeah, you sure wouldn't want those big companies acting like hyocrites.
  • alfoxalfox Posts: 716
    to take advantage of currency exchange rates for personal gain. Individuals and corporations have been doing that for centuries. That's how money traders make their money. And, it's ALWAYS been at the expense of other consumers. Any monetary gain is at the expense of someone else. That's called economics.

    When I vacation in Quebec I benefit from the advantageous exchange rate at the expense of US tourism locations who did not get my business. That's OK, right?

  • Yes, it is ok for people to take advantage of exchange rates.

    Or would you have us believe that only Americans take advantage of exchange rates. You would have us believe that Canadians don't travel, or when they do, they make sure they don't take advantage if the exchange rate benefits them. Please sit down and get a firm grip on reality. Anyone will take an advantage as long as it is legal. And it is ok too.

    Or should I complain if I go to an auction and someone with more money out bids me? That's your argument in a nutshell. US consumers have more money than Canadian consumers, so they shouldn't be allowed to buy goods in Canada.

    So please make sure you don't travel to a nation where the Canadian's average income is higher, or your currency more valuable, than that of the nation you visit. Otherwise, you too will be taking advantage of your situation at the expense of those folks.

    Oh, and Canada isn't really selling toilets to US consumers who can't get anything but low flow units here. Shouldn't Canadian plumbing supply shops refuse to sell toilets to US citzens since they can't even buy that type of toilet in the US? I say no, they have an advantage, so capitalize on it.

    Puuleeeze. Businesses take advantage of these rates everyday when the have the chance.

    My problem is when these very same businesses then prevent their customers from doing so.

    Remember, free markets, that's my mantra. Let those who appear to be at a disadvantage find their areas of relative advantage.

  • rroyce10rroyce10 Posts: 9,359
    ..... You can't knock any (legal) market that takes advantage of their product and that demand for that product ..

    Canada has some great boat builders that are making some excellent products. Their retail prices are in line with most of ours (including Searay) .. the difference is, they pay about 1/2 the price in labor and materials .. plus they get a huge "tax" placement from the Canadian govt. So their profit margins are 30/40% higher than the American counterparts -- So should we trade them cars for boats ..?

    No, that's their advantage .. so instead of the average US boat dealer making around 30%, the Canadian builders and dealers are making well over a 50% profit .. .. so who do we punish .? The buyer has the decision to purchase a Canadian boat or a US manufactured name -- it's the buyers decision.

  • landru2landru2 Posts: 638
    The issue with cars is slightly different than with toilets or other products. If Americans were buying so many toilets that Canadians either couldn't buy them or would have to pay much higher prices for them, then yes, I think you'd see some backlash.

    As you know, I sell the things. My paycheck doesn't depend on who buys them. Your justifications need to be made to your fellow consumers, not to me.
  • or is it the US dealers/carmakers that don't want the warranty.

    I seriously doubt the Canadian consumers are lobbying the car makers based in the US and Japan to prevent US shoppers from crossing the borders to buy cars.

    Instead, it is probably US dealers who are doing this.

    Of course that is pure speculation, but I doubt it is far from the truth.

    So if my speculation is true, it is the businessmen who are against this sort of free trade and not the consumer.

    You probably don't see the backlash on the toilets because they probably are only made in Canada, so their are more jobs in the Canadian plumbing fixture industry ;)

    Who learned that even in Germany, plumbing is done on the "inch" system. Drives the Germans batty.
  • landru2landru2 Posts: 638
    But every one that comes in looking for an F-350 either knows already or knows by the time that they leave that they are paying higher prices because of U.S. exporters.

    Regarding the toilets, I could be wrong, but aren't they only available in Canada because it is illegal to sell them in the U.S.?
  • Canadian merchants are assisting US consumers who wish to skirt US law.

    Not a good story for either party in the transaction.

  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 8,863
    ...Ultimately it's the automobile manufacturers and those US dealers that can be easily hurt by cross border transactions ie those close to the Canadian border.

    First, the manufacturer makes less on a Canadian spec unit because it is sold at a lower invoice to a Canadian dealer as compared to a US spec unit sold to a US dealer. As discussed before, Canadian prices are lower due to their economy and yes US consumers essentially subsidize Canada consumers in the profit column.

    Second, the manufacturer wants/needs to protect dealers near the border who are most affected by the lower prices in Canada. Although dealers say that there is little money to be made on new car sales, they still have to sell them in order to keep their franchise. My understanding is the following:

    dealers are allocated vehicles by the manufacturer - ie they take what is given to them and they have to sell them - even at invoice - in order to keep from going out of business

    they have to sell them in order to keep their franchise - sales drop and the manufacturer can pull the franchise

    they must be an authorized dealer in order to do warranty repairs although the trend is that manufacturers are cutting the payment on this work and it is no longer a great profit center.

    So dealers along the border lose whatever profit from a sale, get flack from the manufacturer for drop in sales, and get to do warranty repairs that don't cover the rent. The dealer closes its doors and sends everyone home. Dealer complains to the manufacturer and they put in place the rules that limit warranty coverage on gray market units.

    I've said it before - it will stop only with an increase in Canadian prices to eliminate the advantage.

    It doesn't help that many dealers are also importers and are essentially cutting their own throats for short term profitability.
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 8,863
    It is perfectly legal for someone to bring a WC into the US that uses more than 1.6 gallons - the installation of said WC is illegal based on today's plumbing codes.
  • raybearraybear Posts: 1,795
    I've said it before - it will stop only with an increase in Canadian prices to eliminate the advantage.

    What's wrong with pushing for a drop in US prices?
  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJPosts: 3,516
    Excuse me while I flush the toilet talk

    Smart Shopper and FWI Message Boards
  • Leave the boards for a few days and didn't know I was missing such a hot topic.

    Raybear--Exactly. Funny how the price always has to go up.

    royce--great example of the shoe on the other foot.

    tboner- outstanding as usual. I totally agree. Corporations always take advantage of favorable money or wage rates, etc, but heaven forbid that a consumer can do the exact same thing. Completely hypocritical in my opinon. Companies spend hundreds of thousands of dollars lobbying politicians in both countries for favorable laws for them, but an individual buyer does not have that same political power or clout.

    rob--I hated it in school when the whole class got punished for one person's behavior. It wasn't fair then and it still isn't fair now.

    landru--I can see where you are coming from in being so opposed to this subject, because it does impact your paycheck. If my company was closing my plant to move it to canada I am sure I would oppose it to. But this discussion needs to be about canadian and US consumers and car makers, not individual car salesmen. Also I do not see the canadian govt pushig away visitors and tourists to your country. I love coming to Vancouver and when I am there I buy many items to bring back home with me. Grey market has never been an issue with my purchases. But yes I am taking advantage of the exchange rate, I am getting a great trip at a great price, a win for me and a win for the merchants that I am buying from and a win for the canadians that are employed because I am coming there for a trip and spending money.

    kcram---With all due respect, can we get real? Its a car. Its a car when it rolls off the assembly line, its a car when it gets off the truck in Canada, its a car when someone buys it. Playing semantics about it is a product and the dealer is not the end user just clouds the subject. You said "Ford is "selling" the car to the dealership " and then the dealer sells it to me. I do not see any difference. If the govt wants to invent some red tape to say I have to title a car, but not my microwave, that doesn't make a car any less of a commodity.

    I have an analogy I like to apply to human behavior. We learned in chemsitry class in college that electrons orbiting the nucleus of an atom reside on different level energy shells each stacked one above another. Without an outside stimulus, each electron will try to seek its lowest energy level. This is its natural behavior. It is my opinion that all things in nature follow this same principle, humans included. Cheetahs do not run at 100 mph all day, only when they need to to eat. For all of our noble ideas of being hard workers and superior level creatures, we are all basically seeking that lowest energy level. I think most people if they could quit there job tomorrow and be financially well off for the rest of their lives to pursue their dreams or hobbies would do it. I know I would. This is exactly what this grey market is about. Without an outside stimulus, US buyers follow the path to the lowest price. Now manufacturers are providing that outside stimulus by not honoring their warranty promises.
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 8,863
    Nothing wrong with pushing for a drop in prices but do you believe it to be a possibility?

    Can you image Bill Ford, Bob Lutz, and Dieter Zetsch telling their respective companies: "Let's see the public wants more features, greater saftey systems, longer warranty, etc. Maybe we should add all that stuff and drop our price in the largest auto market in the world. Oh and tell the dealer body we're gonna cut their profit as well."

    Um - in my world that never happens. :-)
  • Welcome to my world. The computer market is so competative that not only do you get more features, but you pay less money for the computer.

    So yes, I can easily see products with more features, better performance, and a lower price tag.

    I see them every day ;)

  • rroyce10rroyce10 Posts: 9,359
    .... Hey, what do you think of the Alienware computers ..?

  • I don't really know much about PCs anymore. I install and maintain midrange to highend systems that use anywhere from 1 to 106 processors.

    And not a one of them runs WinBloze.

    Sorry, don't have much to offer on that topic.

  • I forgot to mention, good post on #211. You and tboner are correct. I too believe the ultimate instigator of this no warranty policy is the US dealerships that are losing sells.

    Also, I agree with tbone, there are many products that offer better features for a lower price, just look at vcr's, dvd players and tv's. When these products were first introduced they were prohibitively expensive. Now they are so cheap they are almost throw away products. If it breaks in a few years, just get another.

    royce--I think I maybe able to give you some insight on Alienware PC's. I do computer support, down in the trenches, not at the God level like tbone (just kidding tbone..LOL). I mostly deal with compaqs, dells and gateways, however I also am a mid level gamer, not hardcore mind you.

    Alienware and Falcon Northwest make some awesome gaming rigs, however IMHO they are overpriced. You are paying full retail for the cutting edge components that will be obsolete in 3 to 6 months. Cutting edge parts are expensive, no matter where you buy them, compusa or joes computer shop. My philosophy has always been to buy the one generation old technology. It is much cheaper and works with 99% of games available. In fact most games available today run great on a geforce 2 video card. No games run the features in a geforce 4 and just a few run features in a geforce 3. Of course I built my rig, so I could pick and choose my parts.

    When coworkers ask me about pc's most do not want them for gaming so I recommend dell or gateway. You get a good pc with good support. The gaming rig companies make great products, and there support is said to be top notch, but you pay for that just like you pay alot more for a mercedes even though a focus will get you across town just the same.

    There is a good canadian company, just to try to stay on topic, called Voodoo that makes good pc's. Not sure about the warranty issue though, it may be void if you buy it in canada but plan to use it in the US (see how stupid that sounds).

    Your mileage may vary...
  • rroyce10rroyce10 Posts: 9,359
    .... I'm really not much of a "gamer" .. but, I think they look cool ..l.o.l.

    What about ABS ..?

  • What os do you use mostly, Linux?

    I agree with you mostly on Microsoft business practices, however I think in the long run the standardization that windows brings is good for computers. I remember the old days of trying to install hardware and software when standards were not that rigid. I will gladly take plug and play and windows api's in winxp over that mess.

    I think win2000 and winxp are where win95 should have been. Software and hardware work and they are stable. I tried setting up a linux rig a few years ago and it was a mess. Very hard to find drivers, maybe that is better now.
  • I do not have any experience with ABS. But if you want to build your own pc or have someone do it for you, you can get the colored alienware cases and mouse and KB at
  • ...Solaris. I have a mixture of Winbloze, Solaris and Linux at home. My laptop dual boots Solaris 2.6 and Windows

    I primarily use Windows for websurfing, e-mail and games for my children (nothing that requires a full bore game rig) In fact, I believe the fastest processor in my home is a Celeron 766.

    I just finished installing one our new E12000 systems for the US Air Force. Nice rig. Maximum configuration is 52 processors and 288GB of RAM.

    Typical configuration is 36 processors with 144GB of RAM and 9 IO boats that contain 4 IO cards each. It can be divided into anywhere between one and nine seperate domains.

    The E15000 is essentially twice the E12K with 106 processors max and 576GB max, but typically 72 procs with 288GB RAM and of course twice the max number of IO boats and domains.

    Most will not be running this at home as it requires 6 30A power circuits and some serious climate control. Not to mention it is 3000# fully loaded in the shipping crate. (Weighs a bit less when all the packing material is removed.)

    See all the details at:

    And I believe they are cheaper than the E10000 was when it was released about 5 years ago. (Bringing it back onto topic)

    Thinking maybe my next car needs to be the automotive equivalent of Linux, the kit car ;)
  • Sign me up for one of those E12000 thingys. Can i get 10 geforce 4600 ti's with 10 50 inch monitors? LOL The ultimate gaming rig. Sounds like you could create a holodeck with that much processing power.
  • sonjaabsonjaab Posts: 1,057
    Was at the used car dealer across street yesterday.
    The importer guy was not there...He is in
    Canada buying 4x4 trucks to bring over !
    I mentioned to the mgr. about GM cutting
    off warranty work on Can. vehicles. He
    said "since when" ?). He did mention that
    Chrysler is/has cut off warranty repaIRS.
    On used cars too !
    He says he don't know how much it cost to bring
    them over. Yea right..I think he was trying to
    give me the dust off.
    Loopholes closing quick !.geo
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 8,863
    My company distributes building products - manufacturers add features and better warranties with no fear of raising prices and/or cutting our margin. Unless of course their customer has an orange or blue logo.

    Hardware/Software/Electronics are some of the few businesses where a drop in price is expected by the end user. Technology is expensive to develop at first then gradually costs drop as production increases.
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 8,863
    Aw shucks - you're making me blush!!
  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJPosts: 3,516
    Feel free to email each other regardintg computer hardware and software... but it is off topic at Edmunds. Thanks!

    Smart Shopper and FWI Message Boards
  • I came across the following article this morning, and immediately thought of this discussion and pulled it out of the old freezer. It's from a newsletter called Dealer's Edge that I subscribe to.

    "Dealer's Edge
    November 4, 2002 Vol. 8, No. 41
    439 Words Page 6


    Odometer fraud follows increase in vehicle imports from Canada

    Fewer miles on a vehicle mean dealers can increase the sale prices by thousands of dollars.

    DealersEdge has reported several times (DE 2/11/02, 4/29/02, 7/22/02, 8/12/02) on the gray market trade for used vehicles between Canada and the U.S. No wonder. The temptation is great. Favorable exchange rates make vehicles brought in from Canada and sold in the U. S. extremely profitable. So far, so good. But a disturbing trend, odometer tampering, has begun to emerge as an unwelcome angle to this business.

    According to a report in the Seattle Times, law enforcement officers broke up an organized ring of Canadian and Spokane-area car dealers accused of fixing odometers at falsely low settings, allowing them to inflate car prices and bilk buyers out of as much as $1 million in all.

    Authorities say it is a growing problem from Washington State to Maine.

    Before Canadian vehicles can be sold in the U.S., their speedometers and odometers must be converted from kilometers to miles. This creates an opportunity for shady dealers to roll a few thousand miles off the vehicle in the process, and then increase its sale price by thousands of dollars.

    Seven people in Canada and the United States were indicted by a federal grand jury in Spokane for rolling back the odometers on 122 used vehicles from Canada that were then sold in eastern Washington state.

    Most of the vehicles were expensive trucks and sport-utility vehicles, and some had up to 50,000 miles taken off the odometer. Estimates are that an additional profit of 10 cents for each mile that is rolled back, or $5,000 on 50,000 miles.

    Role of NAFTA

    The North American Free Trade Agreement has produced a huge increase in the volume of cross-border car sales. In 1996, only 2,500 used vehicles were brought into the U. S. from Canada. So far this year, the total is about 350,000, according to published reports. But the U.S. Department of Transportation has only four agents dedicated to odometer fraud in the entire country, and no one is assigned to look specifically at vehicles from Canada.

    No comprehensive study of the problem has been conducted, but the NHTSA has about 10 investigations in progress. Still, dealers insist the vast majority of vehicles from Canada have honest odometer readings.

    At Dealer Auto Auction Northwest in Spokane, where about 10 percent to 20 percent of the cars sold come from Canada, co-owner Greg Mahugh said his business had already detected problems with some cars before the federal government announced the indictments. His company had already stopped working with the people who were charged, he said.

    Nationally, the federal government estimates more than 450,000 people every year buy used vehicles with mileage gauges rolled back."

    Enjoy and please feel free to use the following discussion to talk specifically about this article or about Gray Market imports in general.

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