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Importing Car into Canada from US



  • carlover10carlover10 Posts: 13

    Could anyone who has recently purchased a brand new car and imported it to Canada, please answer this question?

    The US Customs requires the original title of the car sent to them 72 hours prior to you crossing the border with the car. But for a brand new car, did the dealer give you this document? Or was sending them the bill of sale suffiecient enough?

    Thank you,
  • khnkhn Posts: 4
    I'm from Montreal and would like to buy a Tribeca from the US. I carefully read the info on the RIV site.

    1) Do I have to pay any sale taxes in the US?
    2) Do I need to have insurance before driving it back to Montreal (I guess yes.)?
    3) Any dealers recommended in Plattsburgh, Burlington or around.
    4) What modifications are needed on the Tribeca to comply with canadian regulation?

    Thank you in advance.
  • crikeycrikey Posts: 1,041
    1) Do I have to pay any sale taxes in the US?

    No, sales taxes apply to the state (and county) where the vehicle will be registered in.

    For example, if a person lives in FL but bought a car in Georgia, the person does not pay the dealership, in Georgia, the sales taxes applicable to the vehicle. The person only pays the agreed purchase price for the vehicle. Once the person registers the vehicle in FL, the sales taxes will be due and calculated based on the amount purchased as indicated on the bill of sale.

    So, if a Canadian buys a car from the US with intentions of bringing it back to Canada, no sales tax should be due at time of purchase since the vehicle will not be registered in the US.

    Now, some dealerships will insist on the sales tax, and that is OK if the person is registering the vehicle in another state because the state of registration will take into account sales taxes already paid, if applicable. However, Canada will not take that into account and will result in double taxation. So, insist on NOT paying the sales tax.
  • crikeycrikey Posts: 1,041
    Much like in Canada, if the vehicle is being financed, the title will go to the lender. However, if vehicle is bought outright in cash, then the title immediately belongs to the owner of the vehicle. However, I am not certain if the dealership will have the title already drawn up in the owner's name at time of purchase. It may take sometime before the title is actually available to the owner, but you may want to check up on this.
  • cdn_24cdn_24 Posts: 8
    im thinking about importing an 03 nissan 350z..from the states into canada.. the cost of the car in cdn funds would be $22,850+tax.. any idea what it would cost me for duty and taxes i dont know if its made in the Us or mexico..
  • crikeycrikey Posts: 1,041
    The 350Z is made in Japan. I think has complete info on calculating the duties and taxes that will be due.
  • 12918431291843 Posts: 3
    go with the z4, night and day... z3 is history. it is not easy to get a car up here to toronto. i just did it the first time, and let me tell you it is hard. the border is the biggest joke. i am a registered dealer i happened to buy two 2003 z4. the wholesale and retail difference in the u.s. is about 3-4K on this type of car. i bought mine wholesale directly from bmw. i am only marking up my cars to a fraction of that. i strongly believe if you buy a car that i have, (here in toronto already) you would end up paying way more bringing it up by yourself. plus all kinds of aggrevations. 17

    good luck: gabe
  • guyfrguyfr Posts: 55
    I recently had a US Dealer quote me $32K US for a nicely equipped XC70. MSRP on that car was $40K US. The same car has a MSRP of $54K Cdn. and dealers are not dealing that much up here. All in all, I would have saved a cool $17K Cdn (including all taxes and the 6% fee) buying in the US.

    The lease on my XC90 is due in June 07. Guess what I will do then! ;)
  • anybody have any info on importing a car into canada thats 20 years or older ??? cant really find much detailed stuff on any websights
  • guyfrguyfr Posts: 55
    Go to

    I called them sometime ago with the same question for a 1972 motorcycle. They told me that there are no special requirement as the vehicle will be classified as an antique. (Bus excepted)

    You will pay GST at the border and PST when you register the vehicle.

    Hope this helps.
  • subby1subby1 Posts: 1
    Hi filion

    I am looking to buy a brand new Tribeca in NY state in about 2 weeks. As you recently imported a new 06 Tribeca from US, I would like to ask some details:
    1.Were any modifications required to bring it in compliance with CMVSS (I believe none are required).
    2.Did you have to pay duty, since the car was manufactured in USA?
    3. I believe no taxes are due in NY if you don't register or title the vehicle there. I intend to get an interstate in-transit permit in NY and drive it to Canada. Did you have any issues in this regard (like having to pay NY tax)?
    4.Also, were the MSO and the bill of sale enough to clear US customs (i intend to buy it cash so no liens, etc.)?
    5. I couldn't find the compliance label on the vehicle. Did you need a letter of compliance from SoA or I needed to look more carefully to find it?
    I'd really appreciate if you have any other info on any troubles you ran into when you imported the Tribeca.

    Best regards
  • ccacpccacp Posts: 117
    A good web site that answers most of your questions about importing a Subaru can be found at This is a site run by the Internet manager at a Subaru dealer in the western U.S. He has step by step instructions on the process of importing a Subaru into Canada !

    Enjoy the read !
  • cdn_24cdn_24 Posts: 8
    Hi I'm currently in Canada and planning on importing a BMW 325CI .. now i know its a german product but could be manufactured in mexico if soo i know i then wouldnt have to pay the 6% GST... anyone know where there manufactured???
  • 12918431291843 Posts: 3
    The 6% GST you pay on anything. The 6.1 % duty you dont have to pay if it was manufactured in US, CAN, MEX. first digit of vin must be 1 2 3 or4.
  • I'm about to purchase a 1998 BMW Z3 from Texas.

    I am in Toronto, and will be flying down there to pick it up, and then drive it back.

    Can someone please explain to me what needs to be done before I go into the USA (ie. do I need to inform the government that I am doing this for paperwork reasons and such?).

    Then, when I pick up the car and drive it back over, what do I have to present them with at the border?

    Can someone break down what fees I am going to have to pay. Just at least give a rough estimate. The Z3 has 60000 Miles and is prices at $12,000 US.

    Please just a rough idea of what I am going to be paying here in total to the Canadian government.

    And lastly, does the car need any work to comply with Canadian laws? Will the car require DRLS, or will it already have?

    Please help me with all of the above questions because I am leaving soon to get this car and I would really like to be prepared.

    Thank you!
  • cdn_24cdn_24 Posts: 8
    Are most BMW 325CI's manufactured in north america?
  • wie1wie1 Posts: 1
    I have a Porsche that I purchased from a non authorised dealer here in Canada. Porsche here will not honour the warranty (2005 Model Year) nor will they even service it. I want to trade-in the vehicle to a US dealer for a collector car (63 Vette). Do I pay taxes based on the selling price of the Vette or the difference payed after the trade-in allowance. Any help would be appreciated.
  • crikeycrikey Posts: 1,041
    want to trade-in the vehicle to a US dealer for a collector car (63 Vette)

    Not really certain about this since we are talking about a Porsche, but CarMax can price out your vehicle and buy it from you if you agree to their offer. But I'm really not sure if they take Porsches. It's a good way to gauge whether the trade-in value being offered accurately reflects wholesale market value.

    Do I pay taxes based on the selling price of the Vette or the difference payed after the trade-in allowance.

    In the US, taxes are paid on the difference between the selling price of the vehicle and the trade-in. The idea is that sales taxes have already been paid on the trade-in when it was initially purchased and cannot be taxed again.
  • Can anyone help me with this?
  • cdn_24cdn_24 Posts: 8
    Anyone know where there more common to be manufactured and I need to know if i have to pay the 6.1% GST
  • crikeycrikey Posts: 1,041
    I am almost positive that the BMW 3-series is manufactured outside North America, specifically, Germany. As far as I know, only the X5 and Z4 are manufactured in the US. If you're really interested in the vehicle that you're buying, I suggest researching the vehicle thoroughly. However, if you're just buying it because it's a BMW...

    Get the VIN of the vehicle, it will tell you where it was manufactured. You should get that anyway to check the history of the vehicle via Carfax. You don't want a vehicle that was fished out of New Orleans, no matter where it's manufactured.
  • cdn_24cdn_24 Posts: 8
    hey thanks crikey.. i would definetley check the carfax history on the vehicle and as for being fished out of New Orleans i would never.. i just gotta find the exact car i like and when i do i'll run the vin# by here and check carfax.. thanks
  • I imported a 2006 Legacy - RIV has all the details.
    1. No modifications needed
    2. No duty - just GST - they didn't even look it up
    3. I had to pay a fee for a temporary NY license to get it to the border and some paperwork fees - about $20 I think
    4. The dealer has to fax the title to the border crossing three full business days ahead. That's what they want to see - that it's not stolen. Call the US border to confirm that they have received the fax.
    5. There is no Canadian compliance label - you get that from RIV after Canadian Tire approves it.
    6. You need to know the date of manufacture - open the door to see it.
    7. You need a letter from the dealer or Subaru that it is not subject to any open recalls in order to complete the whole process.
    Everything worked well - the Sub/Hyun dealer in Buffalo is great.
  • dougb10dougb10 Burlington, Ontario, CanadaPosts: 185
    Did you determine ahead of time if the Subaru dealer in Ontario will service the car and honour the warranty OK?
    I know the MSRP spread on Subaru's between Canada and the U.S. is huge and I can see why you did it.
    What Subaru did you get in Buffalo?
    We have an '05 Outback Limited, but I am interested in the Tribeca 5 seat MSRP spread of about 10 grand (45M vs.35M). Even with the exchange, a few extra fees, etc. the savings have to be at least $8,000 on a cash deal.
    Thanks for your input.

  • cdn_24cdn_24 Posts: 8
    heres the vin# for an 04 325ci WBABS33452PG84783.. i think i will have to pay the 6.1% duty.. but just thought id confirm here..
  • crikeycrikey Posts: 1,041
    Based on Vehicle identification number From Wikipedia, it's made in Germany. If you get an X5, Z3 or Z4, it will be made in the US. Anyway, enjoy your car! :)
  • kim15kim15 Posts: 9
    I wonder if anyone has experience to import a lexus to Canada from US. It seems to be a big price gap and can save a lot of cash. I am thinking of purchasing a IS250 or RX350. Do they need modification? I believe RX350 made in Canada. I'd appreciate if anyone can share their importing experience on these cars. Thanks
  • Hello Subahonda,
    We'd like to buy a Subaru Outback from US (The rebate expires Sept 5) but the very experienced US dealer said there have been rumours that the Canadian dealers would not honor the warranty. Phoning the dealers is useless. Appreciate any information or referral.
  • Hi Guys
    I'd like to know the following.
    My brother just bought a car in the states, and he financed it through the manufacturer(not a 3rd party financing and not a lease), he is ready to sell it to me and leave the financing , except they i will pay the monthly fees to the lender. will i be able to bring this in to canada, or he has to pay it off first in order to get to canada.

    Thanks in advance
  • crikeycrikey Posts: 1,041
    Is your brother transferring the existing financing to you? Would the existing lender allow that? I think you would need to qualify for the assumption of the existing loan, would you not? Or are you getting your own financing? The simplest method would probably be paying off the existing loan, to clear your brother from financial obligation. In that way, the title of the vehicle would also be in your possession once the existing loan is paid off.

    I'm not certain about this, but I think you need to present documents that state you own the vehicle that you are bringing across. A bill of sale would probably be sufficient since you have no intentions of registering the vehicle in the U.S., but I would check on this.
  • deniscdenisc Posts: 2
    I travel to the US quite often and am thinking of purchasing vehicles there, importing them (getting all the certs, paying the taxes etc...) driving them for a while, and reselling them here. I was expecting to do this with one vehicle per 3 months maximum, probably more like 2 per year.

    Is there any restriction on how often I can import cars from the US without getting a dealer license? I believe I read somewhere that importing is meant for vehicles that are for personal use.
  • Are you sure the Z3 is manufactured in the USA?

    Also, I will have to get Daytime Running Lights retrofit. Does anyone know what something like this might cost?
  • Subahonda, can you please assist us and advise what price should we (wifey and I) expect to pay for a Subaru Legacy in the USA (Buffalo, NY)?

    We are very much in doing what you did. We like either the Legacy 2.5i Special Edition Sedan ($21995) or the Legacy 2.5 GT Sedan ($28795).

    Subaru is having up to $2000.00 manufacturing cash back and 0% financing. So does that mean the dealer would only give the manufacturing cash back discount (MSRP less manufacturer cash discount)? Or should we expect the dealer also give a “dealer” discount on top of manufacturer’s?

    And how about financing? Since we are in Canada, does that mean we must pay cash?

    Any advise/info that you can help with our very possible purchase would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you.
  • I've done some research and pretty much understand the process; however, the problem I have now is to locate a US dealer who is willing to sell me a car!!! I contacted about a dozen Toyota dealers on west coast (WA/OR) but no one is willing to sell to a Canadian for export :cry: I saw some smarter/luckier users here did it. I would really appreciate it if anyone could share a bit of their wisdom! If I get this thing going, I'll also share my experience.
  • kim15kim15 Posts: 9
    Check on I noticed there are two dealers on ebay advertising to sell to Canada, one is Washington state, another in Portland, Oregon. If you dont buy brand new cars, you can also check private sellers in WA.

    PLEASE HELP!!!!!!!!

    Are you sure the Z3 is manufactured in the USA?

    Also, I will have to get Daytime Running Lights retrofit. Does anyone know what something like this might cost?
  • Thank you very much for your help kim15. Could you please let me know who those 2 dealers are or how you found them? I just tried to locate them on but failed. There are millions of sellers. :cry:
  • yangpayangpa Posts: 12
    Hi Canucknuckled, as a new member trying to save some $, I have read your comments and postings with great interests. I have been thinking getting a Toyota Sienna AWD imported from the US which is ~ 25% less considering current exchange rate.

    After extensive searches, I amde an appointment to a Buffalo NY Toyota and I got an e-mail back saying "...Thank you for your interest in the 2006 Toyota Sienna. According to Toyota's licensing agreements, Toyota's built for sale in the United States can only be sold to people who have property or business in the US and can register the car
    in the US and pay the appopriate sales tax. The same would be true in reverse if someone from the US wanted to purchase a Canadian Toyota".

    Knowing that this is a problem for people in the West, am just wondering if this is specific to Toyota but not to Subrau? Many thanks.
  • kim15kim15 Posts: 9
    I located 3 dealers for you and all of them are in West coast. Their ebay id as follows: globaldeal4u, nwicars, elasty. You need to search them with each id on I plan to buy a car within next year or so. Please let me know how you make out. Thanks
  • Thank you Kim15. I sent a few emails to these sellers. Will share their reply with you.

    I also get a few referrals of such sellers in US from Hopefully I can close a deal soon. :D
  • 12918431291843 Posts: 3
    US dealers typically mark up their products $2-3K US above wholesale . I am a canadian registered dealer (since 98)located in Newmarket Ontario. I can get practically anything for you on the US side, so you benefit the exchange. My mark up 1000 US. you still save 1000- 2000 from the wholesale. Only share further details if you are serious.
    Regards :Gabe
  • Hi Gabe,

    I am very interested and serious. I'll buy ASAP if the deal makes sense. Why don't you give me a quote on:
    2006/07 Rav4, AWD, V6, Ltd, leather, JBL stereo, Pacific blue.
    I am in Vancouver, BC. If you prefer email, plesae let me know.

    Thank you very much.
  • yangpayangpa Posts: 12
    Hi Cosmosus1, am wondering whether you have any luck with your plan here? Can you let us know? Seems Toyota dealers in the US refuse to sell a new car to canadian customers for a reason I am not so sure about.
  • yangpayangpa Posts: 12
    Hi Gabe, like rav4fans, I am serious importing a Sienna LE AWD, Red, and stuck in the same spot. Is there a way we can make direct contact to discuss further? I am in 416 area. Thanks. Paul
  • Thanks
    My brother is ready to keep the financing on his name, because getting financing in canada will most likely be very expensive, like 7-9%, but from the dealer he has a 1.9% deal. unless you can point me to a second hand car financing for lower rates..
  • crikeycrikey Posts: 1,041
    You really need to research on the DRL issue.
  • crikeycrikey Posts: 1,041
    If your brother keeps the financing in his name, that would mean that the car is still titled and registered to him as a US vehicle. Now, how would you be able to cross Canada with a Canadian driver's license and a US-tagged vehicle? If your brother was driving in with you, then you would be able to cross the border.

    Also, I'm not sure if you can drive a US-tagged vehicle in Canada with a Canadian driver's license. I mean, try explaining that when you (hopefully not) get pulled over. The cops might impound the vehicle until you get proper registration.

    To get proper registration of a vehicle in your name, you would need to show proof that the vehicle is owned/purchased by yourself. So, likely, a bill of sale stating your brother sold it to you is required, which would essentially transfer the ownership title to you. If the vehicle has any liens (like your brother's loan), it will need to be declared and will uncover that the loan is in your brother's name. That loan will likely need to be paid off or transferred in your name. It is likely that the financing insitution would demand full payment. And we are back to you needing to get the loan transferred in your name or obtaining a loan to pay off the loan in your borther's name. That is the dilemma of this transaction.

    It would be easy if the loan is paid off as you would only need to pay the GST and duty. They may require DRL conversion to register also. So, you may want to look into that also, if the vehicle is not DRL-enabled.
  • crikeycrikey Posts: 1,041
    I live in the US and frequent Canada to see relatives. I am thinking about doing this also. I'll research into your question, but I think it would depend on what the definition of being a 'car dealer' is, in the province.
  • yangpayangpa Posts: 12
    Hi Gabe, pls double check the e-mail address you provided in the message. Send a pointer and got bounced back. Thanks. Paul
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    Please, no soliciting in the Forums. Also, refrain from posting email addresses in a message. Your personal security is important to us.

    tidester, host
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