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Importing Car into Canada from US



  • tr6tr6 Posts: 1
    I was about to buy a Honda Pilot in Washington state this weekend and drive it to Alberta when the dealer told me that Honda would not honour the warranty if the vehicle was imported into Canada. I was stopped dead in my tracks and phoned Honda US and confirmed what the dealer told me.
    Dealer suggested an after market warranty costing $800 to $2500. I know the dealers make a terrific profit selling these and since I don't have any knowledge of after market warranties I didn't go ahead with my purchase.

    Does anyone have any experience with after market warranties for a Honda? Seems to me that the after market warranties only begin coverage after the factory warranty runs out. In the case of a Honda, there would be no factory warranty so would the after market folks even have a product to replace the factory warranty?

    Or would I be better off buying a Toyota Highlander, paying the 6.1% duty tax and having the factory warranty?
  • Indeed, Toyota Canada would warranty their cars in US/Canada. The problem here is how to find a dealer who is willing to sell a Toyota to you. Like many of us here trying to figure out a way to do it, in vain. The price gas is just too much to be ignored. Realizing that Chrysler dropped their Caravan by about 6-10% for 2007, hopefully, Toyota/Honda Canada will be not so greedy and follow the good example.
  • It depends on how much you like Honda Pilot. I don't trust after market warranty. My brother bought it when he bought a used maxima. When a problem arises, they claim warranty doesn't cover such problem. For Toyota highlander, you may pay $2000 tariff but has factory warranty. Money wise. it's about the same deal, after market warranty or tariff. But if you are in love with Pilot, probably go for it. Honda is very reliable, it will not have much wrong during the warranty period however
  • I'd like to buy a car in the US but I want to know what are the taxes that I have to pay. Is it more convenient to buy one here in Canada than importing one from the US?? the thing is that I've found new cars are way cheaper in US than in Canada, so before buying one in the US I want to know if taxes are going to make it more expensive than buying one in the Canada. ONe more question, do I have to hire an importing company to do that for me?? and if there is one which one do you recomend??

  • can anyone give me information on importing a classic car
    (71 chevelle) into canada?? How difficult is it to do? what documentation do i need? do i need to modify anything?

  • guyfguyf Posts: 456
    You do not need anything. The car is over 15 year old. See RIV
  • It is technically true that US dealers are "not supposed" to sell outside of the US. However, in actual fact the dealer needs a US address to give the the local DMV in order to send you the title. It is easy to do that if you have friends (anywhere in the US) that are willing to resend it to you or you are willing to open a PO box (that does not look like one) at some place like Mail Boxes, etc.

    If you get questioned on your Canadian license, just say that you are in the process of moving south of the border. Remember to tell them that you moving a few states over so that they do not need to bother with sales tax and you should simply request a 30 day temp tag. This will work if you give them the right story and there is nothing to prevent you from changing your mind about moving to the US and taking the vehicle back to Canada a few... hours later!

    The only catch is that you will most certainly need to come up with cash up front to buy the vehicle but you can still finance once it is fully legit in Canada.
  • In talking with an American friend, he believed a US citizen can own up to 8 vehicles, so I am assuming I could import 8 vehicles without being seen as a dealer. any comments?
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    There is no legal limit in the U.S. on the number of cars anyone can own. The only limit is one's own personal finances. Jay Leno owns about 84 cars and 73 motorcycles.

    tidester, host
  • After reading suggestions, I decided to call various dealers again in Rochester and to my surprise, one of the dealers said they can sale a new Toyota to me. I was not so sure and asked again. The answer was definitely a yes.

    The guy also told me about the $1,500 rebate and a price of $26,788 for a Sienna LE AWD with option 2. I give him the Visa card for deposite, my Canadian driver license, got an insurance binder, and went to Rochester to pick it up.

    Prior to go, I checked again and the guy said yes, but we have some rules changed and all you have to do is to give me a US address and you'll be OK. I re-iterated my question on whether he can do it or not. It was a yes again.

    So we drove 3 hours to Rochester (Hoselton Toyota). After meeting the guy, he said things changed a bit and the best way is to get someone (in the US)to buy it for me and then re-sale it to me. The guy also said he'll help me out on the transactions. The reason: Toyota US changed the rules as of July 1 and request all dealers to sale to US residents, with a US address and an US insurance. The reason? To protect Canadian dealers as they have a hard time saling their Toyotas.

    This was a good lesson for me. Watch out for Toyota dealers saying they can sale a car to you. They cannot.
  • Hi yangpa, thanks for sharing your not-so-happy experience.

    Like you, I hoped to buy a NEW car from US but failed. I contacted ~20 Toyota dealers in US in the last 3 weeks, and most of them told me they can do it. Understandable. They try to sell as many cars and they don't incur any cost if they can't close the deal. When I asked them to explain the process to me, I realized most of them don't even know the issue. After some further research, I found out that starting July 1, Toyota USA restricted its dealers from selling to Cdn through Licensing Agreement. Unless you have a valid US driver's licence, you can't buy a NEW car in US.

    You can, however, buy a USED car, no matter how old it is. But be careful with the warranty. Some manufacturers, such as Honda, don't honour warranty on US cars imported into Canada. Also, be careful with the cost. With GST & PST, a possible 6.1% duty, shipping and all other costs, you may not save too much after all.

    Happy shopping. I hope someone can figure out a smart way.
  • I wonder if Toyota violates North America Free Trade agreement by restricting their US dealers not selling to Canadians. I remember a group of Americans sued Toyota for not honoring warranty for the cars imported to US from Canada a few of years ago. This is similar issue. Any comments?
  • Bought a Subaru in Massachusettes. No temp tags in that state. Don't currently have a car so no insurance policy until I register a car here. Dealership told me that Canadians are bringing plates down with them to drive back over border but I don't understand how you can do this without providing the Form 1 to the Licensing Office in advance in order to get the plates.

    Dealership will be sending all required documents to allow for registering the car this week but how do I get registered/licensed without the Form 1 completed (which I won't have until I cross the border with the car?)?

    Your help is greatly appreciated!
  • You don't need a Form 1 ...

    What you can do is use the VIN to get an insurance (probably will be expensive), bring the insurance paper and ownership to a local Ontario licensing office and get a temporary license plate, then bring the stuff to the dealer to bring it back.

    You'll pay the GST & RIV fee @ the boarder, then go thru the stuff listed on, inspected, registered, pay the PST and then, official insurance.

    SOunds complicated but should be OK. Just keep thinking about the $ you made/saved ...
  • Incidently, Torpedo1, forgot to mention that you'll have to choose an Canadian entry point and have your ownership faxed to the respective US custom there so that they will stamp it as "exported". Don't forget, 72 hours is the minimal requirement.
  • Has anyone ever shipped a vehicle from a US dealer straight to a Canadian address. ALL the paperwork can be done via mail

    Another thought: has anyone tried to put two names on the US title; one Canadian the other US?

    I suspect that the rule requiring one to have a US driver license is not legit because a license is not needed to buy a car (only to drive one) and plenty Canadian citizens have US residences with locally US registered vehicles.
  • I paid $27,030 for a new, 2006 Subaru Outback XT from West Herr Subaru in Buffalo at the end of July this year. The export process was straightforward but you'll need patience at the various border crossings, but you will save about 25% by buying American. You'll have to finance your purchase yourself, but you will be eligible for dealer/manufacturer discounts. Consider purchasing an extended Subaru warranty as there may be issues with warranty repairs because the manual does not suggest they can be performed by Canadian Subaru dealerships.
  • Thank you for sharing your experience, dsouza. I am so glad to hear you saved 25%!!!

    I am also planning to buy a new Forester in US, after failing to buy a new Rav4. I am really encouraged to hear you successfully bought one in US. Can you advise if Subaru Canada will honour the warranty on US imported cars?

    Thank you very much.
  • drb05drb05 Posts: 24
    Can somebody throw light on my doubts? Please ?

    I am relocating to canada in 4 weeks from USA. I am planning to buy (finance) a toyota matrix vehicle. I went through ( and realize that I can import my vehicle without any issues. I checked for the following:
    1. Warranty is covered in both places.
    2. Vehicle is qualified to enter canada.

    My doubts are:
    1. What sort of modifications will they require?
    2. In this website it says that i have to inform US customs 72 hrs before I get into canada. Where should I do that? files/import1.html

    Please help.


  • dsouzadsouza Posts: 7

    Subaru Canada has said they would honour the warranty on an American purchased Subaru. The owner's manual states that all warranty repairs must be conducted by an authorized, American Subaru dealership. This contradiction was enough to get me to buy a Subaru extended warranty which explicitly states repairs may be conducted by authorized dealers on either side of the border. I also found the 3yr/36000 mile warranty a little short, particularly when compared to the 4 yr/80,000 k.m. warranty offered by most new car manufacturers.

    Hope this helps and good luck with your purchase. You may want to confirm whether all trims of Forester are exempt from excise tax (6.1%) - I have a vague recollection that some were considered Japanese-built and, as such, were subject to this tax.
  • dsouza,

    Thank you for the quick reply.

    I contacted Subaru Canada a few times but they never responded. I'll take your words for it if you got the information from them directly.

    I think the manual is intended for Americans. It shouldn't be used to judge whether warranty is covered in either country. Do you agree? I thought all Foresters were made in Japan, hance, were subject to 6.1% excise tax. Anyways, I'll check to see if one is made in N. America.
  • dsouzadsouza Posts: 7

    It's my experience that insurance policies (which, for this purpose, is a manufacturer's warranty) are interpreted according to the words of the contract alone. Whenever issues of coverage or payment arise, the parties to the policy jump into the contract to determine their obligations.

    I did take the person's name from Subaru Canada and recorded the date of the conversation, however, I doubt I could rely on this when faced with a repair. It's one thing to verbalize a company policy and another to reduce it to writing. My best advice is to get your warranty in writing.

    I've really enjoyed my Outback wagon and have no problem recommending Subaru as a vendor. The uncertainty surrounding warranty repairs is a small drawback in my opinion.
  • danafdanaf Posts: 22
    I plan to buy a car here in the US and ship it back with me when I return to Canada after my foreign assignment next year.

    Is it likely that I will sell my car for less in Canada if I buy it in the US, vs buying in Canada?

    My understanding is that I won't have to pay customs if the car is > 50% manufactured in US/Canada. The Toyota dealer here tells me that their Corollas are assembled in Canada. Do I still get the tax exemption even though Toyota is a Japanese company? Many thanks.
  • lax5lax5 Posts: 29
    Looking for info about importing 2006 Nissan Frontier from Arizona. The VIN # indicates it was assembled in the States. Will it be free of duty? Anyone have experience with Nissan warranties? Any suggestions on how to avoid paying State taxes (PST & GST are enough tax)? Possible cost of modifications; daytime running lights etc?

  • lax5lax5 Posts: 29
    What does one do for insurance durint the time one is driving a purchased vehicle back home? The plan is to purchase in Arizona and drive back to British Columbia.

  • I have purchased a Dodge minivan on Ebay and will be flying down to drive it back. Two things.
    Chrysler Canada says that they won't honour the warranty (which is annoying and probably illegal, if it was challenged) so does anyone know where I can go to buy an extended warranty privately in Canada? There are tons of online consumer-direct sites in the US but it seems the Canadian extended warranty providers all sell through car dealers.
    Secondly, I live in Sask. and they issue an insurance permit that lasts for 7 days to drive the vehicle back and only "from point A to B" and can't buy two successive. (Sask. Gov't. Ins. so there's no foolin' around). My wife and I were both flying down and wanted to make it a two week vacation in Texas. Why in the world can't one buy insurance from anyone to insure the vehicle for a couple of weeks. If I'm willing to pay for collision and liability, why not. I do that when I rent a car!
    Any help would be appreciated. Thanks
  • lornedlorned Posts: 8
    I am also looking into the RX 350. It is manufactured in Canada so there is no import duty. The RX 400h is built in Japan so has duty. Dealers near the border say they won't sell to Canadians but I am finding dealers further south say they will. I have a trip planned for Dec. and may purchase then. I emailed Lexus Canada about warranty and they didn't give a direct answer but tossed around excuses about "different specifications" in the US and Canada.
  • Let me know how it goes lorned. Shopping for any kind of deal on these things in Canada (even if you are willing to soak up most of the Canadian premium price)is next to impossible.
  • kim15kim15 Posts: 9
    Check and they seem to offer competitive prices. Good luck with your purchase and please post a message about your experience afterward.
  • lornedlorned Posts: 8
    As a non resident of the State you should be exempt from their taxes. You can get a 90 day temporary registration allowing you to drive it. Most US vehicles are adding daytime lights this year - check with Nissan.
    Warranties - definitely check with Nissan Canada because I am finding that every company's policy is different. If they don't honour it and you are saving lots of $$ you could buy a private warranty coverage. Canadian Tire does vehicle inspections of cars imported. Check the Registrar of Imported Vehicles site re: paperwork you need to do.
  • lax5lax5 Posts: 29
    I spoke with Nissan Canada on Friday and they indicated the warranty would be good to go. The main hitch on the warranty is that the warranty cannot be transferred within the first six months. I can also get a "binder" insurance policy and the temp tags to drive the vehicle back to BC. State tax remains the biggest hurdle. The sales person I have contacted believes that it is not that easy to bypass the taxes. His understanding is that one must pay if they take delivery within the State. I am still trying to work that one out. I may have to pay to have it transported out of the State and then take delivery. Any thoughts on this?
  • lornedlorned Posts: 8
    This just in from the Lexus dealer who has been saying, for two months, that he could sell to me: "Lexus no longer allows United States dealers to sell new vehicles to people who live out of the country. The only alternative is if you owned property in the States and we could register the vehicle there." This appears to be illegal under free trade and auto trade agreements but we individual consumers don't have the resources to battle big multinationals...
  • Call Toyota US and ask them - they have not had such a restraint in the past but dealers in border areas make agreements not to sell to people from the other side to protect their market and Toyota says that this is not a matter for head office since they allow it. If you're still interested, you can just go a bit further away from the border - find the next district away from the border and so on. They shouldn't have a restriction. You can arrange to have it shipped to a border lot or go there to pick it up.
  • When you sell your car in Canada its value will be based on its condition and mileage, not where you bought it. Based on my limited experience, the people at the boder are pretty anxious to be helpful and they are not out to collect duty - just the GST. You have to have all your papers in order. The US wait period is defined not by hours but by full business days. So 72 hours is at least three full days. If it includes a holiday weekend, it is six days. And after you fax the title, confirm by phone that they have received it. When you get to the border, they want your original title so that they can stamp it for export.
  • Canadian Subaru dealers will honor a US warranty. I have tested this in reality. As of now Subaru Canada reimburses the dealer no matter where you bought the car. I don't know if the US roadside assistance deal works in Canada. There is also a third way to buy a Subaru - from a US source but inside Canada. I noticed that on Autotrader ( the on-line dealer Peninsula Import Motors sells new Subarus that they bring in from the US. You can tell which ones they are by the very low kms. The on-line pictures have revealed the speedometer is in miles/hr. The prices at that dealer are about half way between buying them in the US and Canada. They tend to have cars at the high end and often have some models that are not sold in Canada, such as Outback sedans. They are located literally next door to Budd's Subaru in Oakville on the QEW South Service Road. My guess is that they truck them in from a dealer somewhere in the US. They've been at this for some time and they have a full service department.
  • lornedlorned Posts: 8
    I have been shopping in the southern US - Arizona. Dealer said a "new" Lexus policy is that a vehicle purchased in the US and registered in Canada is not warrantied. He suggested it's OK if you first register it in the US but you need a US address to do that. Too many hoops, those likely highly illegal. I'm checking BMW guidelines.
  • I've contacted a few bmw dealerships in washington and they claim it is against company policy to sell new cars to Canada. The reasons I want to buy from the US are the extra options and packages as well as saving some money. Has anyone recently bought and imported a new BMW who can relate and provide me with information on whether I should look further south as well as any other important details.
  • I have a dealer in Tucson who is apparently willing to sell. I am also checking others in the southern US. Ones near the border, I think for every company except Subaru, will turn you down. Even the others may lead you on, then pull out if they get company pressure. That's what happened with me searching for a Lexus in the southern US. Unless you're shopping for a new model you might find them more open to selling preowned cars to Canadians.
  • What do you mean by company pressure. A bmw dealership in Yakima claims they have sold some cars to Canadians in Vancouver but the other companies like BMW of Bellevue say its against company policy to sell new cars, only pre-owned. Should i trust this dealership?
  • lax5lax5 Posts: 29
    Any suggestions for the best way to activate/install daytime running lights on a Nissan Frontier. The Nissan dealership in Vancouver suggested Canadian Tire, but I am looking for other suggestions.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,104
    Looks like you found the Frontier discussions... probably a better place to get info about your specific truck.


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  • i'm thinkng of importing a 2003 Mercedes ML350 (20k miles, US$24,000) from LA to vancouver. apparently THE REGISTRAR OF IMPORTED VEHICLES has different requirement on Mercedes than any other brands. they require you to obtain an official letter of admissibility from
    Mercedes-Benz Canada Inc.
    and i contacted a local Mercedes canada dealer, they told me that in order for me to get that letter, i need to pay $750 application fee for them to find out if they can do all the modifications on the vehicle, after assessment, they will then provide me a price quote for the job. $750 is only refundable if they are not able to perform the mod work. and they also give me an estimate that the mod work will cost anywhere from $3k to 5k.
    has anyone here had this mod work done on a mercedes vehicle
    before? does it really cost that much?
  • In my view it's all a grey area - the sale and importing is perfectly legal but the manufacturers want to discourage it because they make more profit if you buy in Canada. So they have "policies" to not sell to Canadians, though rarely are those in writing because (I suspect) to put them in writing could prompt law suits. They actively tell their dealers in border states not to sell, but don't push the issue so much in southern states. Also, southern dealers don't deal with the requests from Canadians as frequently, so no doubt some of their sales people start down the path to sell you a vehicle then have a regional manager or such tell them to stop. That's what happened to me with an Arizona Lexus dealer. Plus, they probably monitor these forums... :)
  • Easy, go for your inspection and just stay with your car when they are doing the inspection, when the "mechanic" at Canadian tire needs it started, offer to do it and flip the lights on as you start the vehicle, its worked for three out of three people I've suggested this to that have come to me to have day time running lights installed.... Lets be honest, CT mechanics are like Nursing home staff, its where the no good and the once good end up working, truthfully, they are generally happier with the less they write on their clip-board...
  • Does a registration document consist of paperwork from the dealership where the car was purchased in order to travel across the US to your desired port of entry into Canada? Is this also called the in-transit sticker for travel purposes? As one of the required documents for Customs, can someone verify this required form? I can get registration prior to leaving Canada without the bill of sale for the vehicle as long as I have purchased insurance, but I am unsure if this is the required document they are looking for? Thanks
  • Hi I'm very serious in getting a new 2007 BMW 328i from the U.S. Please porvide information as how how you can help. Tx...George Cheung
  • In my case(2 days ago) US Customs were interested in original MSO (Manufacturer Statement of Origin )
    Canadian customs in MSO and Bill of Sale. But I think if get stop by police in US without a temp or perm license you gonna get fined.
  • guyfguyf Posts: 456
    So, what did you import?
  • Subaru Legacy.
  • The document is whatever the state in which you bought it uses to indicate your ownership. The RIV site lists what is needed. I had a bill of sale and a title and the permission from the US border to export it and the RIV document from the Canadian side (with the GST receipt). There was a 30-day registration in NY that was required by that state just to get to the border but I left the paper license tag in my window until I got the Ontario plates. The people at Canada Customs told me that there is no requirement for license plates until your car is legally registered in a province. If you have insurance and proof of ownership and a driver's license, that is sufficient. They said the police are aware of this.
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