Buying a new or used vehicle in the U.S.: a few caveats

    QUEBEC, Oct. 1 /CNW Telbec/ - The exceptionally strong Canadian dollar
has more motorists thinking about saving money by buying a new or used vehicle
in the United States. CAA-Quebec reminds consumers, however, that before they
commit to investing a significant sum to get their hands on a dream vehicle at
a dream price, there are several key aspects to consider if they want to avoid
any unpleasant surprises.
    Cheaper south of the border? CAA-Quebec has compared vehicles with
similar features sold in both Canada and the U.S. and can confirm that there
are significant differences in the sale price of some models. "We have
observed that, as the Canadian currency has approached parity with the
U.S. dollar, manufacturers here have not lowered their retail prices
accordingly. So we may well wonder when Canadian consumers will see the
benefits of that parity, and be able to buy goods more cheaply here instead of
going to the U.S.," says Sophie Gagnon, CAA-Quebec's Director of Public and
Government Affairs.
    A few formalities are in order if you wish to import a vehicle from the
U.S. At the top of the list is a check with the Transport Canada Registrar of
Imported Vehicles (RIV), to verify that the vehicle meets Canadian safety
standards. This check will also tell you whether any modifications will be
required once the vehicle has crossed the border. Any necessary modifications
must be conducted at the buyer's expense within 45 days. Examples of
components typically subject to modification requirements include child safety
seat anchoring systems, daytime running lights and certain collision safety
    Mandatory inspections and applicable charges To pass the federal
government's safety standards compliance inspection, you must have a document
confirming that there are no outstanding recalls on your vehicle. Manufacturer
recalls are mandatory in the U.S., whereas in Canada it is up to the owner to
comply with them. Failing to follow up on a U.S. recall can affect the vehicle
warranty and even its resale value. Furthermore, if you have bought a used
vehicle, a provincial mechanical inspection is required by the Société de
l'assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ). Note that you have to pay for these
inspections, and there is also a charge for registering your vehicle with the
RIV. Lastly, you will have to pay the GST and QST, as well as a customs duty
fee equal to 6.1% of the purchase price if the vehicle was not manufactured in
North America.
    "Beyond the financial aspects, purchasing a vehicle in the United States
means the consumer must deal with some fairly complex procedures," Ms. Gagnon
explains. "CAA-Quebec's Automotive Advisory Services can provide valuable
guidance to members in this area, for example on warranty validity and
compliance, financing, and choosing a vehicle that will represent true
savings." It's also a good idea to talk to your insurance provider before you
leave for the U.S. since they can advise you on exactly what coverage you will

    A not-for-profit organization, CAA-Quebec provides several automotive,
travel, residential and financial services and benefits to its approximately
900,000 members.

For further information:

For further information: Montreal: Claudia Martin, (514) 861-7111, ext.
3210; Quebec: Philippe St-Pierre, (418) 624-2424, ext. 2418

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