Sunday, September 30, 2007

Case Study: Importing 2008 Subaru Outback Limited

A case study documenting the importation process for a 2008 Subaru Outback Limited is now available at

The vehicle was imported from Seattle, WA through the Sumas Truck Crossing in B.C. and the total savings were calculated at $13,876.00.

Class Action Law Suit Filed Against Auto Manufacturers

Four Toronto residents have filed a $2 billion lawsuit against the Canadian and U.S. divisions of General Motors, Honda, Nissan and Chrysler.

Written by David Friend from The Canadian Press and entitled "Lawsuit Alleges Automakers Conspired to Boost Canadian Prices", this article claims the auto industry is engaged in a price conspiracy to artificially maintain car prices in Canada. Examples of differences in MSRPs between the two countries are provided.

The article is now available at:

Saturday, September 29, 2007

US and Canadian Dollars Exchange Rate Information

Here is a useful site for up-to-date currency information on 164 currencies, including Canadian against the US dollar. is used by corporations, tax authorities, auditing firms, and financial institutions.

When paying for a car purchase via a wire transfer from your financial institution, you will likely be charged a premium on these rates. There are currency trading institutions who will transfer your money at better rates than banks increasing your savings on your car purchase.

UCanImport will be adding information about these services in the near future so that you can be better informed on wire transfer possibilities.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Mercedes Benz 1998/1999 E300TD Not Admissible

Submitted by: UCanImport Subscriber

Comments welcomed.


I just got off the phone with Mercedes Benz Canada. They can not issue
the Letter of Admissibility for the only car I want because apparently
the US spec on "bumper impact withstand capability" to which MB
manufactured their "E" Class cars for the 1996-2002 export to US, is
2.5 MPH while the Canadian standard is 5 MPH, and since this is not
easily modifiable, my 1998/1999 E300TD is NOT ADMISSIBLE!

I guess this spells the end of my plan to import my Benz from the US.

Good luck in your endeavor,

Ford North American Warranty

Submitted by: UCanImport Subscriber

Comments welcomed.


Ford Canada head office has indicated in response to my question during a phone call that new car warranties on all Ford products will be honored anywhere in North America. This information might be more useful if it were in writing. For what it is worth.

Importation Requirements for 2008 Subaru Outback

Submitted by: Recent Importer

There are NO modifications required to import the 2008 Subaru Outback. You also don't need a Letter of Compliance from Subaru Canada contrary to their website.

I just imported an 08 Outback 2.5i Ltd. and all that is required is a recall clearance letter from Subaru of America plus the usual taxes and inspection fee.

It's a very nice car, you'll be glad if you get one.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

UCanimport Mentioned in the Toronto Sun

UCanImport was mentioned in an article in the Toronto Sun today regarding the resistance of Canadian retailers to adjust their pricing with the strengthening Canadian dollar...

Written by Linda Leatherdale and entitled "Still Biting for Our Cash", this article shows price comparisons on specific products.

The article is now available at:

or on

E-mail from "Pissed Off Car Dealer"

Comments welcomed.


First Name: Undisclosed
Last Name: Pissed off Car dealer
Company: Undisclosed

"Are you a bonded customs broker? It seems to me that you are offering the services of a customs broker, except at a higher, and inflated price and benefiting from media splashing your webpage address around. How do you think it will go over in the media when you are in trouble for acting as a customs broker without the proper credentials? You are encouraging Canadians to spend their money outside of Canada and that hurts all Canadians. I hope that you get the repercussions of acting as a customs broker without bond or license. You should have just offered this for free and it wouldn't have raised any eyebrows, instead you are in it for greed.

This will go to the attention of the CADA (Canadian Auto Dealer Association) in hopes they have the resources to know what to do with this forwarding it on to whomever regulates the customs brokers industry. I don't feel bad for doing this to you, your webpage is designed to lose Canadian car dealers business which we can't afford to lose because of your propaganda. Given the fact that new cars purchased in the US don't qualify for any 0% finance or lease options, the average car isn't any cheaper anyways, but your webpage sure doesn't care to point that out does it."


Comments by: Zabin Somani

The e-mail above is indicative of the "scare tactics" and mean-spirited messages I am now receiving almost on a daily basis from Canadian car dealers. I guess this is a sign that we are making some headway.

Until prices are on parity with the United States, I am going to stand my ground. As I have said before, I'm a proud Canadian and I would prefer that we buy all our goods in Canada. But if we are getting ripped off, then the only way we can stop it is to vote with our purchasing power and go elsewhere to obtain our goods until the situation changes. In the case of auto sales, when Canadian dealers see that they are losing significant business to our southern neighbours, they and the auto manufacturers will hopefully elect to rethink their strategy and adjust their pricing accordingly.

As a final note, if the individual had a leg to stand on regarding any of the points above, he/she would have left a name and contact information so that we could engage in a debate on the issues. For any other dealers that would like to engage with me, I welcome your e-mails. I would like all UCanImport readers to be able to make informed decisions, so I will post ALL of your messages to this blog for everyone to read. Tell me why Canadians should be paying up to 30% more for their vehicles than Americans. And lame reasons such as "we won't honour your warranty" or "we won't service cars sourced in the United States" won't cut it. I promise you that people will see right through these comments as simply price protectionism.

I stand behind our do-it-yourself guide, our assistance services and our web site. I am also committed to bringing to you every bit of information I can get my hands on that will enable you, the Canadian consumer, to make an informed decision with your next vehicle purchase... as they say, Power to the People!


Saturday, September 22, 2007

US Dealer Encourages Canadians to Speak Out

Submitted by: Maria Mazzarolo
Re: E-mail Response from US Car Dealer (name withheld)

Sent: Sunday, September 16, 2007 5:20 PM
Subject: Canadians Banned from New Toyota Sales

Hello Maria,

Thank-you for your inquiry.

Currently, I can only sell used vehicles to folks who live in Canada due to a prohibition from Toyota USA.

You can see my pre-owned inventory at [dealer car lot website].

I am encouraging everyone to make a complaint to your gov't about this apparent NAFTA Free Trade violation.

California insists on a State Sales Tax

Submitted by: Michele Cawthorne

I did check with California DMV and you DO have to pay the state tax if you're driving the newly purchased car on the California road.

If using a transport company, you will have to pay DMV doc fees of $55.00, Smog certificate $8.50 and Smog fee of $50.00.

Lexus honours warranty in US and Canada

Submitted by: UCanimport Subscriber


Sent: Thursday, September 20, 2007 6:52 AM
Subject: RE: General Comments [2007-09-19-]

Thank you for your recent communication with our company.

For your information, it is our understanding that Lexus dealerships in
the U.S. are not authorized to sell Lexus motor vehicles to customers
located outside the U.S. or to sell Lexus vehicles for re-sale or use
outside the United States.

Lexus Canada also cautions customers against purchasing Lexus vehicles
that were not manufactured for the Canadian market. Certain vehicles
available for sale in the US may not meet Canadian safety standards and it
may be difficult to obtain replacement parts for vehicles not originally
sold in Canada. Also, as The Registrar of Imported Vehicles indicates on
its website, even if a vehicle can be imported into Canada, there is no
guarantee that it can be modified to meet Canadian requirements and the
costs to do so are the responsibility of the owner or importer of the

For further information on importing a vehicle to Canada, we suggest you
visit the website of The Registrar of Imported Vehicles (a division of
Transport Canada). The address is as follows: If you prefer,
you may call them at 1-888-848-8240.

The manufacturer's warranty (regardless of whether it is a US Lexus
vehicle or a Canadian Lexus vehicle) is honoured in continental USA and

Thank you once again for writing.


Alice McNamee
Customer Relations
Lexus Canada


Comments by: Zabin Somani

Good news for folks importing Lexus!
Sounds a lot like the Toyota notice doesn't it? How do we determine if this policy is in contravention of NAFTA? Responses welcome.

Purchasing after-market warranties - a solution for many importers

Responses Requested:

One knowledgeable and very helpful subscriber with many years of experience in vehicle sales offered the following information:

In Canada, it is possible to purchase a fully customizable, after-market warranty for your car. Companies like Lubrico offer this service through dealerships.

I'd like to find the US equivalent, and see if their warranties will suffice for those vehicles that the auto manufacturers are refusing to honour once imported into Canada.

Toyota Honours Warranty in US and Canada

Submitted by: UCanImport Subscriber


Sent: Thursday, September 20, 2007 12:22 PM
Subject: RE: warranty

Thank you for your recent correspondence.

For your information, it is our understanding that Toyota dealerships in
the U.S. are not authorized to sell Toyota motor vehicles to customers
located outside the U.S. or to sell Toyota vehicles for re-sale or use
outside the United States.

Toyota Canada also cautions customers against purchasing Toyota vehicles
that were not manufactured for the Canadian market. Certain vehicles
available for sale in the US may not meet Canadian safety standards and it
may be difficult to obtain replacement parts for vehicles not originally
sold in Canada. Also, as The Registrar of Imported Vehicles indicates on
its website, even if a vehicle can be imported into Canada, there is no
guarantee that it can be modified to meet Canadian requirements and the
costs to do so are the responsibility of the owner or importer of the

For further information on importing a vehicle to Canada, we suggest you
visit the website of The Registrar of Imported Vehicles (a division of
Transport Canada). The address is as follows: If you prefer,
you may call them at 1-888-848-8240.

The manufacturer's warranty (regardless of whether it is a US Toyota
vehicle or a Canadian Toyota vehicle) is honoured in continental USA and

Thank you again for taking the time to contact us.


Karine Shank
Toyota Canada Inc.

Comments by: Zabin Somani

This is great information and should ease warranty concerns for many Toyota importers. However, I'd welcome comments on "if" or "how" the no-sales-to-Canadians policy contravenes the NAFTA agreement?

Friday, September 21, 2007

UCanImport Mentioned in Globe and Mail Today...

UCanImport was mentioned in a great article in the Globe and Mail today regarding the current price differential between similar goods in Canada and the USA.

Written by Paul Waldie and Greg Keenan and entitled "Identical Cars, Clothes, Books Come Cheaper in U.S.", this article also shows some interesting comparisons on specific products.

The article is now available at:

or on

Thursday, September 20, 2007

BMW charging Cdn$500 for Recall Clearance Letter

Submitted by: UCanImport Subscriber
Responses welcome

We just imported a BMW into Canada from the states (north american made) because of the huge dollar diference from Canada to the USA and we've found out that BMW and the RIV have now struck a deal to hinder the importation of BMW's.

BMW has implemented a fee of $500 for their recall letters that the RIV will only recognize sent directly from 1 particular BMW department and address. Even though we have a recall letter and succesfully brought the car accross the border the RIV withholds Canadian Inspection forms until they receive the letter directly from BMW.

Anyway, came across your website in a yahoo article and it's fantastic. I was hoping that you might be able to provide info to your viewers and also to me about how to get around this new development that other manufacturers seem to be jumping on to keep prices in Canada high and get their cut. Thanks

Kudos to Harley Davidson: motorcycle prices lowered

Responses requested:
Yesterday, it was reported on the local Victoria news that motorcycle giant, Harley Davidson, has reduced its prices across the board on its new models. According to the report, this move came in direct response to increasing strength to the Canadian dollar.

I'm going by memory here: On the example that was shown, the 2008 model was 20% cheaper than the previous year! I just tried to find some infomation online, but to no avail. If anyone knows anything about this proactive move by the good folks at Harley Davidson, please respond.

While other manufacturers are defending their response to our soaring loonie, it's interesting to see this American icon was able to make adjustments in the interest of their consumers.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

UCanImport on CKNW's Christy Clark Show

For anyone who is interested, I was just informed that a recording of my interview with Christy Clark on CKNW is available online. The topic (obviously) was the idea of importing cars from the US with the high differential in car prices and the 30-year high in the Canadian dollar.

If anyone would like to listen to a recording, the link and instructions are as follows:

Go to

Register as a member (only takes a moment) and then access the audio vault. Select the date "Wed Sep.19" and the time "1pm". Your Windows Media player should popup and start the audio clip for that time period.

The interview started at 1:06pm and ran for approximately 23 minutes...

Looking forward to your feedback!

Don't worry: Some dealerships are pleased to work on your import

Submitted by Bob Toni

I heard you on CKNW this pm.

The guy that called in from the Lansdowne Auto Group does not know what he is talking about.

My neighbour brought in a 6 series BMW used and the dealership here on the NorthShore treats him like a king.

Comment by Zabin Somani: here you go folks, there are dealerships who want your business and your trust. You will find them and they will be happy to service your import.

Examples of Canadians paying more despite our strong dollar

Submitted by Brad Follet
Comments requested
Cars? What about everything else!

I purchased a Seadoo this summer in the US and saved over Cdn$3000 even after exchange and all duties. The sad part about it is that Seadoos are manufactured in Canada and are being sold in the US at a fraction of the cost here in Canada.

Yes, the exchange has been a small factor in the past, but the Canadian "gouge" factor is huge in comparison. Order a Kohler toilet here in Canada for over $1000 and wait 6 weeks for pickup or order it through the internet for $500 Cdn. (shipping and exchange included) and have it delivered to your door in two weeks. There are hundreds of examples of our gouging retailers here in Canada.

Consumer Association of Canada urging Canadians to buy US

Check out this article:

Even the Consumer Association of Canada is telling us it's time to shop south of the border. Really, do we need any more incentive?

Patriotism has it's place and I'm proud to be Canadian, but when I feel that I'm being taken advantage of, I choose to vote with my dollars. And right now, they're heading south!

Price Gouging by Auto Manufacturers

Submitted by Ron Tanguay
Responses requested

My friendly Toyota dealer in Bellingham, Washington has confirmed to me that he is now prohibited by Toyota USA from selling to me the Prius I want because I live in Canada.

Prior to this prohibition, sales of new cars to Canadians had grown to 60% of his volume. He -- and I -- are understandably irate with Toyota (and with other automakers like GM who restrict their dealers in this way). This dealer hinted at possible or pending legal action to challenge the automakers on this point.

Are you aware of any such action? Can we as consumers join in or otherwise lend our support to any such actions? Are you aware of effective ways around these unfair and possibly illegal maneuvers by the automakers? They appear determined to gouge Canadians by setting the prices they charge their Canadian dealers much higher than the prices they charge their US dealers.

From a recent CBC News article, I am also aware of a New York State Toyota retail dealer who was (and is perhaps still?) selling significant numbers of new Toyotas to Ontario and Quebec Toyota dealers who are benefitting from lower prices than they are able to get from Toyota Canada!

I look forward to hearing from you.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Canadian dollars highs making imports even cheaper

The loonie gave the greenback a spanking yesterday ending the day at a new 30-year high of 97.04 cents US. Six years ago the dollar hovered around 63 cents US. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that as we inch towards parity - it's probably not a matter of "if" but "when" now - the prices on those US car lots are going to look even better.

Custom House Currency Exchange is currently quoting 1.0259 for converting the US dollar to Canadian. That means a US$20,000.00 car will cost CAD$20,518.00.

The currency calculator is on the home page, so use it and gloat!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Tips For Spotting Flood Damaged Vehicles

NADA, the National Automobile Dealers Association offers a bunch of tips on how to avoid getting soaked by a flood damaged vehicle.

It basically boils down to paying for a full, third-party inspection to evaluate the interior and engine compartment, to check for water residue and stains, to look for rusting and fading, and to do a smell-test for mold or musty odour.

If you don't know a mechanic or garage you can trust, pay CarFax to send a mechanic to do a complete inspection on your car for about $99. Details are at

Monday, September 10, 2007

BMW 1995 M3 And All 850 CSi Require Modifications To Suspension System

Did a bit of research into modifications for BMW imports today and here's an interesting tidbit: the 1995 M3 or any 850 CSi car may require adjustments to the suspension sytem for headlight height requirments. This may cost you more than you had bargained for - so do your homework before importing.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Cost-effective car inspections available through CarFax

Recent British Columbia-based importer of a pre-owned car writes, "before making an offer I requested and obtained many additional hi-def photographs from the dealership. I also paid Carfax $99.95, to send an independent inspector to examine the vehicle and give it a test drive. The inspector did a thorough job and found at least two minor cosmetic flaws that I would never have found. The flaws and things like exterior and interior condition and tire tread depth could all figure in the offer process so I feel the $99.95 was a smart investment and I would do that again."

For more information see

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Free trip permit available through temporary ICBC insurance in BC

Recent importer from British Columbia confirms that he purchased good coverage from ICBC before he travelled to the US to pick up his car - $5,000,000 liability, comprehensive, etc. for $99 for 10 days.

When he took it to Canadian Tire for the inspection he had to go to ICBC for a trip permit, which was free because the temporary insurance was still valid.

TIP: confirm with insurance agent that your trip permit is covered under the temporary insurance.

Volvo warranty applies in Canada

September 6, 2007: Volvo Canada Customer Service confirms that the Volvo original factory warranty is honoured on all imports from the US. Once the vehicle is registered in Canada all warranty work can be completed at the dealership closest to you.

From Volvo brochure: "All Volvo cars with U.S./Canada specifications sold by Volvo Car International Customer Sales or Volvo Cars of North America are covered by a complete worldwide 4-year/50,000 mile warranty package including the 8-year U.S./Canada corrosion warranty, a 5-year emission warranty, a 5-year seatbelt limitedwarranty and the U.S./Canada On Call Road Assistance Program."

For info contact: 1-800-663-8255 ext 5837

Welcome to :: Blog

Since our "Grand Opening" in August 2007, we've had a wonderful response to our web site ( as well as our downloadable guide, Importing Cars from the U.S. into Canada.

To provide another forum for additional and up-to-date knowledge that we've either received from our readers or gathered through our research, we decided to set up this blog. Please note that we are "newbies" to blogging, so please bear with us as we figure out this new and wonderful medium for communicating...

What information do we plan to share on this blog? Well, pretty much anything that has to do with importing cars into Canada from the USA. From the importing experiences and insights we've received from our readers and clients, to newly released information from the Canadian and US governments, car manufacturers, insurance agents... whatever information may be of value to other Canadians that may be looking to import their next car as well.

Anyway, we encourage all of you to use this blog to send us your questions (which we will do our best to answer in a timely fashion) or share your experience with other Canadians. Our aim is to make this blog a valuable resource for anyone looking to save money by importing their next car from the United States...


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