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Importing Canadian Vehicles to the U.S.

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Comments

  • landru2landru2 Posts: 638
    mass, how would you propose to get everyone to pay MSRP? And what do you mean Canadian buyers are not going away? Do you think our supply of cars is unlimited? If every F-250 and F-350 truck is bought by Americans (which they practically are) where do Canadians go to buy them? Want to buy a V6 2WD Escape? Canadians can't buy them. Our store has been allocated three 2003's until November. These three will sell for MSRP - $1200- whoopee. The shortage is not so much because they are being bought by Americans but because the supply is all diverted to the U.S. If supply in the U.S. was plentiful, prices would come down and the flow of U.S. buyers would slow down. There are definitely supply issues.

    You do bring up a good point about NAFTA. Ask the tens of thousands of Canadian forestry workers who just lost their jobs because of U.S. tariffs what happened to NAFTA.
  • janzjanz Posts: 129
    As I read it, doesn't have anything to do with NAFTA, free trade or dealer profit. It has to do with the volume of canadian vehicles brought illegally into this country, where titles are washed, and the potentially very negative impact this can have on the innocent buyers of such cars.

    There are people making a ton of hard to trace cash on these deals and because the source of the cash is Canadian and no one except the traders are profiting.

    You can legally import a car from Canada. Canadian specifications are so close to those in the USA the only things that require changing are the odometer and the headlights. The issue is that so many cars are coming into the US illegally and people are unknowingly buying these cars not necessarily at a lower cost because they DON'T KNOW THE CARS ARE FROM CANADA. Those bringing them in are illegally profiting from the difference.
  • masspectormasspector Posts: 509
    landru- I did not say that all buyers should buy at MSRP. What I was trying to say was that if I as an american buyer could freely buy your car at MSRP, it would probably be cheaper for me and I would gladly pay you MSRP, if I were close enough to get the car home with a short drive, or the price was like half what I would pay in the US for a long drive. I do not know how the supply system works for cars, but unless it was a limited production run, I would assume that if you sold all of your blahmobiles and called ford and said I need 200 more blahmobiles they would make them and send them to you (more profit for you and them). This concept seems simple enough to me. Again, read my post about me never being a businessman. If the supply is so low everywhere then why all of the rebates and incentives to move cars? Also canadians can buy a 2wd escape if they want to, we have plenty of them down the street here in Ga. Why such a low price if there are only three? Seems if they were in demand they would sell for MSRP or more. I agree from your post and others on TH it seems that the auto manufacturer distribution system stinks. But that is between your dealership and the manufacturer, not you and the customer. Again silence from the manufacturer's corner.

    I sympathize with you about the lost jobs, just talk to almost all of the US manufacturing sector. The more developed countries are being drug down to the lowest wages in the world, instead of the developed countries bringing up the wages of the underdeveloped economies.

    janz- you are right on and make alot of very good points. Like any other illegal activity, there has to be buyers or the crooks would be out of business soon. There is obviuosly a demand for these vehicles or no one would go to the trouble to ship them down here. The point I was trying to make was if the manufacturers supported US buyers buying canadian and stopped voiding warranties, then maybe most buyers would buy through legit channels and have a car that they know the history on and know they have a warranty. You are right, illegal grey market is bad, but a US buyer knowingly going to canada to buy a vehicle for their personal use should not be punished for trying to save some money.
  • audia8qaudia8q Posts: 3,138
    You also forget to include the agreements the US auto makers have with their unions...You can rest assured their contract clearly addresses Canadian new cars.

    I think its hilarious what lengths people will go to save a few dollars. These are the same people who think rules are for other people.
  • rroyce10rroyce10 Posts: 9,359
    ..... Not to go into all the Impacts, Trade agreements, Corporate espionage, yatty, yatty, yatty .com ... I'm not agreeing with - pro or con.

    What you are missing here, is the real deal, the American consumer .. a bunch of these vehicles come over the border with KM from the factory (no big deal to me) .. they get converted over to Miles, by the "Nice guy Change O matic" speedo store down the street in the States. And by law, it get converted back to ---0--- as in ZERO, not 1,500 miles or 159 miles or the 298 that was on the vehicle -- ZERO as in less than one... as all speedo's are done by Federal law. There is no conversion here, no translators, no 1x6= 6 stuff ......... just plain old boring Zero, see where the problem starts ...? And see were it will go in 2/4/6 years at trade time ...?

    Mass, would you ever purchase a vehicle that you thought there might be a 1,0/2,0/3,000 mile discrepancy .. I don't think so ..! l..o..l...

    Currently it cost around $800, now that it's done you have a title change from Canadian to American (MSO is from Canada) ... it starts in KM and ends up in mph.

    Now most people don't even bother to do this til' 8/12 months down the road .. IF, they even decide to do it at all --- At this point in time ... What is the mileage ..? Once a speedo get's changed by a "Factory Rep" that in itself, gets tuff enough. That's when that nice low KM vehicle, ends up being worth about 50% less than market. -- The whole point is what Audi just mentioned ---

    **I think its hilarious what lengths people will go to save a few dollars. These are the same people who think rules are for other people.**

    Terry.
  • mpynempyne Posts: 120
    I live near detroit and could purschase a new car and drive it back pretty easily (geographically speaking). I havent seen anyone really address the difference between buying 1000 cars (ie the dealership) vs. a consumer buying 1 car. Why couldnt there be some type of limitation on how many cars you could buy? I would be more than willing to be able to purchase only 1 car from Canada then would not be allowed to purchase ever again.
  • dikrandikran Posts: 12
    About 6 months ago I considered buying an 02 Maxima SE. There was a very thoughtful fellow on these boards, Jon Lofquist, who explained in great detail how to buy one in Canada. At that time you could buy a Nissan in Canada and bring it back to the US without voiding the warranty.

    By doing so I would have saved about $4,000 over the price of a US-purchased Maxima. (The exchange rate was 1.60/1 then.) I figured that it would cost me about 2 days time and trouble. There was a discussion about this process, and everyone (including Terry) agreed that if you bought a new Canadian car, brought it home, _and_ drove it till the wheels fell off, you were getting a great deal. The trouble, of course, is that most people will want to sell or trade a lot sooner than that--if you do, so long to the savings!

    But the point is, $4,000 is not just "a few dollars". Not to me, anyway.
  • dikrandikran Posts: 12
    Imagine that you're a dealer in Detroit (or Buffalo, or someplace else near the Canadian border). Your potential customers walk across the border and buy their cars at prices _you_ can't get.

    Wouldn't you feel that Nissan (or GM, or whoever) was burning you pretty badly? I sure would. I'd start complaining to Nissan that I was losing business, because Canadian dealers got their cars cheaper than I did. Some solution would have to be worked out, or I'd be out of business.

    The solution that the automakers seem to have worked out is to discourage consumers from taking cars across the border, by voiding the warranty. Not exactly inspiring, but if I were a dealer in a border city, I'd prefer that to going out of business.
  • mpynempyne Posts: 120
    Okay a couple scenarios

    First I used to play guitar and could spend a couple grand on a guitar. Lets say hypothetically I see the same guitar priced lower in Canada. Should I not buy it because music stores in Detroit will go out of business?

    Also why do so many Canadians work in Michigan? Because they can exchange their US pay check and exchange it for more Canadian currency than if they worked in Canada. So should we close the borders because its taking away jobs from qualified US citizens??

    So why cant US citizens take advantage of the lower value of the Canadian dollar by purchasing cars?

    disclaimer:Im not anti-Canadian by the way
  • audia8qaudia8q Posts: 3,138
    It's like I have always said....let's not let ethics or values get in the way of saving some money...hahaha. those things only apply to others that I judge, not me.

    Can somebody explain why breaking the rules is acceptable?

    Rich
  • lleroilleroi Posts: 112
    are challeging the rules rather then breaking them.Just because something becomes a "rule"does not give it validity.The main point I see here is -the cars are sold to Canadian dealers for less.This kind of upsets the concept of free trade.I can see the need for restricting US buyers because of this disparity in cost.
    The easiest solution would be to annex Canada.Oreilly would never stand for this.
  • audia8qaudia8q Posts: 3,138
    If somebody doesnt like the prices here in the US why dont they MOVE to Canada and pay in Canadian dollars. simple.

    If you don't like the rules move or get them changed....whining and cheating the system isnt a way to run a railroad.

    I have to laugh at everyone jumping on the free trade bandwagon...These people are the same ones who fought it tooth and nail..but if it benefits them its great..haha. oh to live in a "me only" world.
  • bretfrazbretfraz Posts: 2,021
    Does anyone actually know the rules? I mean, there are lots of comments here and some of them are quite definitive. But who knows exactly what the laws are?

    I think there's a whole lotta assumin' goin' on and not a whole lotta knowin'.

    And I'm with Rich here; cheating the system for your own personal gain doesn't make it right.
  • dikrandikran Posts: 12
    You asked in post #27 why you couldn't buy just one car from Canada. I'm explaining why capitalism, as it exists today, prevents you from doing that.

    Each entity in this scenario is trying to look out for its own interests. The automaker splits its market, charging two different prices, in order to make more money. This creates an opportunity for you to buy a car in Canada, which would save you money. Your taking advantage of this opportunity would cost your local dealer some potential business, so he complains to the automaker, because he wants to make money selling cars. The automaker then creates policies (e.g. voiding warranties), because it values the relationship with the dealer. (The dealer buys cars from the automaker, which makes the automaker some money. Not to mention that the automaker wants to maintain the split market.)

    Thus capitalism, or each entity acting in its own interest, prevents you from buying a car more cheaply.

    BTW, if you find a cheaper guitar in Canada, go buy it! Like I said, I'm all for capitalism.
  • dikrandikran Posts: 12
    Jon Lofquist had done thorough, excellent research on this and concluded that no rule was being broken in the scenario I described. There were Canadian tax-related forms to be filled out. (US citizens are entitled to refunds of certain Canadian taxes.) You had to prove to the Nissan dealer that you were a US citizen (photocopy of passport). You had to pay duties at the border (2.5%) for importing a car.
    You needed a letter from Nissan (which Nissan was then willing to provide) stating that the car met US emissions and safety standards.

    While I don't have every detail at my fingertips, in outline the main "rules" are these:

    By law: Canadian law entitles US citizens to refunds of certain taxes, provided the proper forms are filled out and proof of citizenship is provided. US law requires you to pay duties when importing a car from Canada. State law (NY) requires you to pay sales tax on the new car you just bought in Canada.

    Thus, our governments do not have a law preventing this importation process.

    Currently, all automakers require their Canadian dealers (by contract) NOT to sell to US citizens. (Nissan was the last exception.) This is an agreement between the dealer and automaker.

    Further, the warranty, which is a contract between the buyer and the automaker, is written so as to be void if the car is imported into the US.
    So, strictly speaking, _importation_ of the car does not violate a rule, it's just something most buyers wouldn't do.

    Currently if you buy a brand-new Canadian car and bring it into the US, either you deceived the dealer, or the dealer failed to exercise proper diligence as required by his contract with the automaker. In fact, there's a step in the tax refund process where you need to show the dealer your passport, if I recall correctly. Thus, the violation of terms of the contract occurs in the _purchase_.

    So, currently the only way to import without a dealer conspiring to violate the terms of his contract with the automaker is to import used Canadian cars. Of course there is also the odometer kilometer/miles problem as Terry explained.

    The present setup makes it more trouble than it's worth, for me.
  • dikrandikran Posts: 12
    I thought some readers might be interested in the older discussion of these points. It's called "Buying in Canada", and it's in "Smart Shopper--Archived Discussions".
  • dikrandikran Posts: 12
    You have made many comments about "rules", which aren't clear to me. Maybe we can make this more concrete.

    Would my purchase of a Maxima in Canada (see #28) have violated a rule? (As I posted earlier, it would if I did it now, but that's not the question.)

    In "Buying in Canada", the archived discussion, you mentioned (in post #88) that "I also have about half a dozen canadian units with washed indiana titles here on my lot. I'm not going to miss out of the gravy train but I also would not buy one myself." Have you violated any rules by buying and reselling these cars?
  • audia8qaudia8q Posts: 3,138
    I can't speak for all MFG...But some have very clear rules in their dealer agreements concerning importing/exporting and brokering of cars.
    Violations of these contractual agreements can mean fines, loss of allocation, loss of warranty, loss of franchise etc...
    Some are not so clear and a few don't even address the issue at all...I don't know Nissans rules so I can't comment on your particular experience.

    Like it was mentioned earlier...used cars are a different animal. We buy Ford-Lincoln and Mercury used products in Canada 4 times a year. They are all converted and get united States titles. (many midwest and souther states wash titles) All of the buyers are informed they are Canadian units. So far, nobody has balked. Ford has no problem (at this point) with warranty coverage of these vehicles.

    Unlike most...we are not going there for price (savings is nowhere near what people think) but selection. There isnt anywhere we go that has a better selection of used (2001-2002) Lincoln Navigators and Lincoln LS's. If somebody is doing the proper canada to US change-overs the savings is quickly eaten up....People claiming to save $5000+ are either fibbing or had an "iffy" converter do the work and US certification.
  • dikrandikran Posts: 12
    I see then that it is possible to make use of the "gray market" without breaking any rules. So perhaps we can put that rules issue to rest.

    It sounds like you have also managed to get the odometers converted to miles without having the title branded "TMU" (true mileage unknown). I realize this isn't precisely what you said, but you did say that nobody has yet balked, and my guess is that many shoppers would put up a fuss over a TMU title.

    Is this right? I ask because it was a bone of contention in the previous discussion.
  • mpynempyne Posts: 120
    "I have to laugh at everyone jumping on the free trade bandwagon...These people are the same ones who fought it tooth and nail..but if it benefits them its great..haha. oh to live in a "me only" world. "

    But when it does not benefit big business it okay to change their tune?

    Also why did the auto makers push for NAFTA in the first place? hmmmmm I wonder
  • dustidusti Posts: 36
    in the US its illegal to discriminate (not to sell them the product) against someone because of their nationality.

    and a product HAS to perform its function - irregardless of any written warranty or lack thereof.
  • masspectormasspector Posts: 509
    royce..thanks for the clarification...Is what you explained a US law? It does not make sense that if I see a car with 1000km that I change the speedo and have 0 miles on it. Is this a limitation of not being able to clock the new "miles" odometer to the right reading? Sounds like someone forgot about common sense when they wrote that law. Like I said before it appears that this would be less of a problem with a vehicle that is brand new and low miles anyway.

    mpyne...good posts

    dikran...I agree with you, $4000 is not just a few dollars to me either. Also some very good points.

    audi...not sure what rules you are talking about..but like others pointed out on here, it appears that there are no laws being broken. Also, if there is such a big difference in the price of new canadian cars, why does this not translate into better prices for used cars? Do canandian vehicles go up in value as they age?

    lleroi....exactly. Any rule, or law for that matter, is only valid if those being governed by it agree to follow it.

    Everyone...People are selfish. Companies are selfish. Yes I am going to jump on the free trade bandwagon if it benefits me, just like automakers did to support NAFTA, even as they ship manufacturing jobs out of the US. Does this make them and me selfish and greedy. IMHO, yes. Get over it, its human nature. There is not a company out there that runs it business based on what is really good for the consumer or worker. They run it based on maximizing profit and stock price. If we truly embrace free trade, like NAFTA, then it has to be a two way street. Companies and consumers should have the right to buy any product from anyone that they choose. What is happening with gray market cars from canada is that the auto makers want to artificially tilt the playing field in their and their US dealerships favor on the consumer end, while following the tenets of NAFTA and free trade when it benefits them as a company.

    Question for landru or audi...do speedometers in canada have KMph and mph, like US speedos have both? If so, why not just leave the speedo and odometer in the car and then there is no question of the miles.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,076
    dusti, I don't understand your point. The illegality occurs in the importing and selling of cars without following proper procedure. Therefore, selling the product to anyone (yes, regardless of nationality) is illegal.

    And, if there's no warranty, there's no warranty, period.

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  • alfoxalfox Posts: 716
    "and a product HAS to perform its function - irregardless of any written warranty or lack thereof." True - for products sold in the US.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,076
    Alfox, but there's a limited extent to which the implied warranty applies. The implied warranty probably only lasts til the car is driven off the lot and manages to start & stop on command. If it has an engine and goes forward and in reverse, that really meets the requirement of the product performing as an automobile. I somehow doubt that the "implied warranty" is bumper-to-bumper 3 yrs/36,000 miles.

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  • alfoxalfox Posts: 716
    I was implying that US warranty laws apply only to vehicles sold in the US. Someone buying a gray market car from Canada should not assume they are protected by US commerce law.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,076
    gotcha. I'm a little slow some days.

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  • dustidusti Posts: 36
    An American citizen can't walk into a Canadian dealership, answer the gestapo question about "are you planning to export" with the only legitimate answer - "none of your business" ...

    and expect to drive away with the car.

    The dealer - under orders from the manufacturer - won't sell SOLELY BECAUSE the buyer is American.

    The fact that the American buyer might illegally export has nothing to do with it.

    The fact that the American buyer might LEGALLY export back to the United States with almost no modifications and only a small duty, thereby saving mucho granola, has everything to do with it.

    This behavior is illegal in the US. Can't reject a sale because of nationality.

    Illegal because it is WRONG.

    It is also wrong to sell someone 20k worth of goods and leave them with absolutely no recourse if that 20k worth of goods turns into a pile of horse manure - which is what the auto manufacturers are doing when they void the warranties for Canadian buyers.

    Again this behavior is illegal in the US. Don't think an implied warranty is effective? Ask the American plane manufacturers just how effective they can be. They have turned mostly toward manufacturing kits the buyer puts together so they don't have to deal with these "ineffective" warranties.

    Illegal again because selling 20k horse manure is WRONG.

    But the auto makers and the dealerships that encourage and defend these practices could care less about what is right or wrong or anything else that resembles a principle.

    Free trade? Only if they can make a buck off it.
  • sonjaabsonjaab Posts: 1,057
    Have the kms on top and mph on the bottom.
    The odo. on them read in kms tho. (gm-ford)
    I own a motel in NY 1000 islands along
    the border. A few of my buddies own a
    few Can. imported vehicles one with km
    speedo and one with swapped mph speedo
    with conversion sticker on door.
    Used car dealer across the street from me
    has many CAN. used cars for sale.
    This guy also owns a Ford dealer too....geo

    BTW; these guys paid thousands less than
    if they bought a US truck !
  • masspectormasspector Posts: 509
    Nicely put.

    Thanks for the info sonjaab.
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