It has been said that Canadians are “among the stupidest people in the world”. Recent car pricing, in view of a rising Canadian “Loonie Dollar” is somewhat out of whack. For the most part a Canadian dollar in February 2008 trades at par – that is an American dollar roughly equals a Canadian dollar all things being equal.
A Canadian shopping in the U.S.A. for a car and then bringing it in, (importing the car), through relatively standardized channels can save a wallop of cash. For example – an Acura MDX models starts at $ 40,000 in the US but $ 54,000 in Canada.
The humorous part so to speak is that this car is made and manufactured in Canada, even with all kinds of federal and provincial government support and informal subsidies. In effect all the poor, luckless Canadian is doing is repatriating the Canadian citizen back home.
Importing a car from the U.S. into Canada is a relatively simple matter and process. First the prospective buyer researches his car in a standard and normal sense. Next he or she should check with the Canadian Government agency to check and verify if the car, truck or S.U.V. vehicle that they wish to import is admissible. The website is easily found, in a standard manner, from the Canadian Government Department “The Registrar of Foreign Motor Vehicles “or Riv for short. The website can be found at www.riv.ca . Prominent on the front page of the Riv.ca website is “Importing a U.S. Vehicle into Canada Find out how.”
The Riv’s process states to check and verify: that your vehicle is admissible and can be modified to meet Canadian requirements by checking Transport Canada’s List of Vehicles Admissible from the United States. The Registrar of Imported Vehicles program regulates only vehicles originally manufactured for the U.S. market. Vehicles originally manufactured to standards other than the U.S. or Canada, are inadmissible into Canada under the current laws. The program regulates passenger cars, trucks, vans, jeeps, chassis cabs, trailers, motorcycles, off-road vehicles and snowmobiles less than 15 years old and buses manufactured after January 1, 1971.
For information on the importation of vehicles into Canada from countries other than the United States, go to Transport Canada’s web site as well as Canada Border Services Agency’s web site.
Next in line with Riv’s procedure is to check for vehicle modification requirements. Even if your vehicle was manufactured in Canada for North American requirement your vehicle must meet Canadian standards. As examples Canadian vehicles are required by laws and standards that both have car infant tether mounts and daylight running lights.
One more recent addition to the lists is for a simple recall clearance letter. The recall clearance letter sates that the vehicle has no outstanding recalls by the manufacturer on it.
The recall clearance letter must be on official letterhead from either the dealer or manufacture.
Either can simply issue the letter. However the letter is mandatory at the time of entry, in order to pass the Canadian border clearance process.
Even though the car is your property you must receive export clearance from the U.S. border authorities too “export'” the car, if it is to leave the U.S. Simply fax the appropriate U.S. border post’s vehicle export fax phone number at least 72 hours before arrival.
Next, after receiving clearance follow the process outlined on the Riv site at the Canadian Border Port of entry. Not all Canadian border posts are set up for this process. Generally the larger entry ports are. You will be asked to provide documentation as indicated on the Riv site.
Title, documentation and sales receipts are required. You will need a valid Canadian address to be eligible for this process. You will be billed by Canada customs a Riv fee of approximately $ 300, General Sales Tax (G.S.T.) on the price of the vehicle. In addition, depending on the origin of manufacture of the car you will be required to pay 6.1 % duty if the car is not made within the NAFTA Free Trade Zone (U.S.A., Canada and Mexico). G.S.T. in 2008 now runs at 5 %. Provincial Sales Tax payment will vary depending on the province of the owner and importer of the vehicle.
Interestingly enough if the car is a “Classic Car”, older than 15 years of age; the car will fall in a different and much simpler procedure with few requirements and inspection. It all depends on the rules and modifications for that vehicle as stated on the Riv website. If in doubt phone. Remember that you will have to comply again with certain regulations – such as daytime running lights and other requirements in your specific locale and province.
All in all importing a car into Canada from the United States can be a fairly easy and straightforward affair, even if you do it yourself, without the need for a broker. Two factors come into play – always verify what the current rules are with the Government of Canada authorities – Transport Canada and the Registrar of Foreign Motor Vehicles (Riv). Lastly always pay close attention to fluctuations in the currency rates – Canadian dollars vs. U.S. American greenbacks.