Importing a Prius hybrid to Canada

July 2, 2007 at 6:50 am 60 comments

BC Business Magazine posted an article on the economics involved in importing vehicles from the US to Canada. As I’m currently researching the very same topic, here are some cost comparisons, for those of you who are looking to import a Toyota Prius.

It is almost impossible to compare apples to apples when looking at importing a Prius. The reason is quite simple – Canadian consumers have a smaller selection of packages and options to choose from. As such, a consumer looking as specific functionality may be required to pay for additional features, simply because they’ve been bundled into an expensive package.

Here are the features I was looking for:

- Prius ‘07

- VSC (Vehicle Stability Control)

- Backup camera

- Audio system /w MP3 support and aux input

In the US, this feature set is called Package #2. In Canada these features are part of Package B, which also includes premium audio, Bluetooth support, and many other features I don’t care for. However, since I won’t consider buying the car without the features I am looking for, the effective Canadian price becomes that of Package B.

Now for the cost comparison – US Prius ‘07 package 2 vs. Canada Prius ‘07 package B. Although the CAD is trading today at 1.056 CAD per USD, I’ll use the conservative 1.07 exchange rate. The results (in Canadian dollars) are astounding:

- MSRP:

  • Canada: $35,360 (includes package B)
  • US: $23,727.25

- US Package 2: $615.25

- Accessories (high-end cabin+cargo mats, first aid kit):

  • Canada: $300 (not all accessories are available)
  • US: $365.94 (for all desired accessories)

- Destination charge (note that in both cases the vehicle comes directly from Japan to the west coast):

  • Canada: $1,240
  • US: $663.4

- Levies (A/C, battery, tires): $125 in both cases.

- Additional fees (est.): $66 in both cases.

- Duty:

  • Canada: $0
  • US: $1551.76 (at a rate of 6.1%)

- PST (BC, 7%):

  • Canada: $2,596.3
  • US: $1898.08

- GST (6%):

  • Canada: $2,225.4
  • US: $1,626.93

- RIV fee (for importing a vehicle into Canada):

  • US: $195

- Installing daytime running lights on imported vehicle:

  • US: $150 ($40 parts + $85 labor, USD)

- Vehicle inspection for imported vehicle:

  • US:~$150 (est.)

- BC PST refund (up to $2,000):

  • Canada: $2,000
  • US: $1,898.08

Total price, Canada: $39,911

Total price, US: $29,221

Price difference: $10,690

All I can say is “wow”. You can save +$10k by driving south for 90 minutes. And before you ask, Toyota’s warranty covers North America – Canada included.

Of course Toyota isn’t making this easy – they try and prevent US dealers from selling to Canadians. But some dealers will take your money – do your research.

More to follow…

— Oren

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60 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Dan  |  July 5, 2007 at 12:23 pm

    Don’t forget about the $2000 federal rebate as well. I believe it applies even if you’ve imported it, but you’ll probably want to confirm that. Check out the URL for more details on that.

    I’m looking at a similar situation with the Ford Escape Hybrid. The only thing it had going for it was 0% financing, but then it turns out that doesn’t apply to hybrid models!

    What are these crazy car manufacturers thinking?

    Reply
  • 2. orenf  |  July 5, 2007 at 12:35 pm

    Dan,

    Thanks for your comment. I left out the federal rebate as it is still in limbo – nobody knows what the procedure will be.

    In the 6 months that I’ve been looking into hybrids, I have not see a single promotion that applied to either Toyota or Honda hybrids. The manufacturers figure that if you’re willing to pay the hybrid premium, you’re likely to pay it anyhow, promotion or not.

    By the way, I added a link back to the BC Business article (finally they have a digital version as of two days ago).

    — Oren

    Reply
  • 3. Rob  |  July 5, 2007 at 9:34 pm

    Thank you for providing this information in such a clear and concise manner man. I’ve been trying to find information on this and you’ve nailed it. Are you planning to go ahead with it?

    Reply
  • 4. orenf  |  July 7, 2007 at 6:25 pm

    Rob,

    Yes, I’m planning to go ahead with it. Still debating which color I want, but otherwise I think it’s a go.

    Oddly enough, once you find a dealer who’ll work with you, much of the hassle/stress of buying a new car is gone – the dealer will NOT negotiate with you, as (in their mind) they are doing you a favor by dealing with you. And since you save so much in the process, squeezing another $500 from the dealer is simply not worth it. They quote, you buy.

    — Oren

    Reply
  • 5. Peter  |  July 9, 2007 at 10:46 am

    We brought a Prius in, it was easy and we did get a slight discount of of MSRP. It is one of the smoothest running vehicles I have ever driven. Wer got 46.6 miles per US gallon.

    Reply
  • 6. Import Car to Canada  |  July 10, 2007 at 6:37 am

    Theres good money to be saved in doing this. There are numerous other reasons to import a car to Canada, and the prius is a great example of the better option availability they have in the states

    Reply
  • 7. Ian  |  July 21, 2007 at 7:35 am

    Oren, thanks for the info, this is exactly what I looking to do, however I am probably going to buy a used Prius. Any comments on importing used cars into BC? Any insight appreciated, just starting my research.
    Ian…
    PS am a longtime avid blackberry user and just signed on for your mobile content on buzmob.com

    Reply
  • 8. orenf  |  July 26, 2007 at 9:19 am

    Ian,

    The process for importing a used vehicle is similar to that of a new vehicle.

    Pros: You’ll be able to buy a used vehicle from any Toyota dealer, since Toyota does not (and cannot) limit the sales of used vehicles to Canadians.

    Cons: (esp. if buying from a private seller) – you’ll have to go to the US, see the car, probably inspect it. Then you’ll have to arrange Toyota recall letters for the vehicle (info can be found on http://www.priuschat.com, just search for recall letter).
    Then you’ll have to close the deal, and fax over documents to US Customs. But the car must remain in the US for 72 hours. So you’ll have to figure that out somehow.

    Finally, note that used cars are not eligible for the PST refund in BC.

    You’ll be saving lots of $$$ in the process, but buying a new car (assuming you find a dealer who’ll deal with you) is better, IMHO.

    Reply
  • 9. Marcel  |  August 24, 2007 at 11:00 am

    Anyone hear anything about federal rebate yet?

    Reply
  • 10. Marcel  |  August 24, 2007 at 11:32 am

    I found the site that deals with the federal rebate. Vehicles imported from the United States are not eligible for the ecoAUTO Rebate Program. (point 15)

    http://www.tc.gc.ca/programs/environment/ecotransport/ecoAUTO-QandAs.htm

    Oh well, just buy it in Oregon and they dont’ charge sales tax!

    Reply
  • 11. orenf  |  August 24, 2007 at 12:19 pm

    Marcel:

    Note that if you are importing a car from the US, no matter which state, you don’t pay state sales tax, as the car is sold for export. I bought mine in WA, and did not pay a dime.

    Also note that, in order to get PST refund (at least in BC), the car must never be registered in the US. If you buy it in the US, and register it in the US, then you will not get PST refund (BC).

    Finally, Ottawa has not yet published the process for claiming the federal refund. I’m holding onto my receipts and will submit paperwork once it’s available. Who knows, the person processing the rebate may not know/care where the car came from, so long as it was “freshly registered” in Canada.

    Reply
  • 12. Steve Dobson  |  August 31, 2007 at 4:12 am

    I have a 2006 Prius and live in Michigan. I’m thinking of adding daytime running lights. Do you know what brand was added to your Prius? Have you been happy with them? Is there any other information you could give me about them? Steve

    Reply
  • 13. orenf  |  August 31, 2007 at 10:50 am

    Steve,

    My DRL modification was done by Canadian Tire – I’ve no idea what they used. Unlike the DRL kit they actually sell, which uses the main lights, their modification uses the signal lights (apparently this is good enough per Canadian regulations).

    I suggest you visit http://www.priuschat.com and search for “DRL” or “daytime running lights” – you’ll get lots of references for US-based products.

    Reply
  • 14. Glen Chow  |  September 13, 2007 at 10:53 pm

    Hey, Oren.
    How did you find a dealer in the states to sell a Prius directly to you? If you don’t mind me asking, which dealer in Washington state sold you your Toyota Prius? Hope to hear back from you soon.

    Glen.

    Reply
  • 15. Steve  |  September 18, 2007 at 12:41 pm

    I’d like to buy a Camry Hybrid and I live in BC. Can you email me contact info for your dealer in Washington?

    Thanks!

    Reply
  • 16. Edmond  |  October 11, 2007 at 9:04 am

    Hi Oren,

    Thanks for providing the info. I am a Canadian, but working in the states. I am thinking to buy a Civic or Accord here, and I am anticipated to pay the GST (6%) and Ontario PST (8%). But you have mentioned there’s a BC PST refund … may I know what is that about ??

    Reply
  • 17. orenf  |  October 11, 2007 at 10:08 am

    Edmond,

    The BC PST refund (there’s also an Ontario one) relates to hybrid vehicles. If you buy a Civic hybrid, you can get a PST refund.

    Reply
  • 18. Jason  |  October 14, 2007 at 1:28 pm

    I’m thinking of buying a Honda Civic Hybrid (w/ Navigation) from the US. Does anybody know of a good third party warranty that will cover Hybrid cars and their batteries since the Manufacture’s warranty will not apply then.

    And great information ..thanks so much
    Jason.

    Reply
  • 19. Henry  |  October 18, 2007 at 10:05 am

    One question I have is that how do you know if there is duty on Toyotas? I mean are they all made in US? I’m a bit confused about the taxes: NO state tax if I tell them I live in Canada? But I have to pay both GST & PST right?

    Reply
  • 20. orenf  |  October 18, 2007 at 11:08 am

    Henry, here are the details re taxes:

    – US Sales (state) tax: You do not have to pay it, since the car is “for export”, and is never registered in the US.

    – GST: You pay GST when you cross the border into Canada.

    – PST: You pay PST when you register your car with ICBC (in BC).

    – Duty: You only pay duty if the specific vehicle you’re importing was not manufactured in the US/Mexico. Some Toyotas are imported, some are made in the USA, etc. The Prius is only made in Japan, so you always pay duty (6.1%). The Camry Hybrid may (or may not) be imported, as some are made in the US.

    – If you’re importing a hybrid, you may qualify for a PST refund. As things stand today, imported hybrids do not qualify for the GST rebate (though that is being challenged).

    I hope this helps,
    Oren

    Reply
  • 21. Aaron  |  October 22, 2007 at 1:30 pm

    Oren, thanks for the skinny on import costs, it was exactly what I was looking for, almost down to the same package. I possible, I’d appreciate if you could pass on the dealership/salesman contact. Cheers, Aaron

    Reply
  • 22. Beth Regehr  |  November 10, 2007 at 11:14 am

    Hi Owen, Thanks for info, it says the
    2008 Prius is inadmissable, but the 2007
    Prius is admissable, is that correct?
    Did you buy a 2007. Which Washington
    dealer did you use, I too live in BC and
    would like to import a Prius, especially
    now that the dollar is so strong.
    Thanks,Beth

    Reply
  • 23. sandy  |  November 21, 2007 at 10:00 pm

    Oren, do you know if you still get the pst rebate if the care you import is not a hybrid? I’m debating between getting the Camry Hybrid vs. the regular Camry. I was also at Wilson Motors in WA a little while ago, planning to go back next week and hopefully they are still willing to sell.

    thanks

    Reply
  • 24. orenf  |  December 1, 2007 at 5:47 am

    Sandy:

    The BC PST rebate is specifically for alternative fuel vehicles, and would not apply to regular gasoline vehicles.

    Google the following: SST Bulletin 085 – Alternative Fuel Vehicles and Alternative Motor Fuel Tax Concessions.

    Reply
  • 25. orenf  |  December 1, 2007 at 5:49 am

    Beth:

    Re ’08 model – I recommend you call RIV and ask them. There’s no reason why it would not be admissible, other than a slow-moving bureaucracy.

    I bought my Prius @ Wilson Toyota in Bellingham.

    Reply
  • 26. davidf  |  December 10, 2007 at 2:35 pm

    Thanks from all of us for your help Owen.

    When you did the DRL conversion at Canadian Tire, did they also do the instrument panel switch over to metric? Are there any imperial left overs one has to adapt to?

    Reply
  • 27. orenf  |  December 10, 2007 at 7:04 pm

    David,

    There are no adjustments required, other than DRL, for the Prius (as of 2007).
    The only requirement is to change the speedometer. There is a button on the panel which switches the speedometer from MPH to KPH. The odometer (and everything else) remains in miles and gallons.

    It’s more an issue of convenience – temperature is Fahrenheit, consumption is MPG, distances are in miles, etc. Speed is KPH.

    Reply
  • 28. pierre  |  December 15, 2007 at 7:44 pm

    It seems that a 2008 Prius manufactured after Sept. 1 2007 must have an electronic immobilization system that meets the intent of CMVSS 114. Does anyone know if we can install an aftermarket system that meets the intent of CMVSS 114 and that doesn’t void Toyota’s warranty?

    Reply
  • 29. John McManus  |  December 15, 2007 at 10:38 pm

    OK, so how do I call to bring my car from WA into BC, presuming I don’t register it in the States (i.e. purchased for export), and am willing to pay GST and duty at the border?

    As well, does ICBC offer insurance?

    Reply
  • 30. John McManus  |  December 15, 2007 at 10:41 pm

    PS: That’s who do I call!

    Reply
  • 31. orenf  |  December 16, 2007 at 6:01 am

    John:

    Check out comment #18 here: http://abouttime.wordpress.com/2007/07/14/importing-a-prius-hybrid-to-canada-us-customs-forms/#comments

    ICBC agents have all the info needed to facilitate the transaction.

    Reply
  • 32. jm  |  December 20, 2007 at 1:13 am

    orenf,

    Here’s what I got from a dealer in WA state. Honest, this is legit:

    “Thank-you for your inquiry!

    I receive many requests like your’s everyday, and I have helped many folks save $$$ by buying from me. Here is the basic information you need to get started.

    I can produce the paperwork and letters that Customs wants when you bring your new vehicle across the border. You need to do all of the interaction with the government agencies involved.

    Payment must be made in full via wire transfer or Cashier’s Check before the vehicle is released to you. I cannot help with any financing.

    Some vehicles require the addition of daytime running lights which can be done at a Toyota dealer, or more inexpensively at Canadian Tire.

    Generally it doesn’t make sense to trade-in your current car to me as the costs of exporting it will reduce it’s value considerably.

    The Highlander comes equipped several different ways and the way it is equipped will effect the cost and the availability. The colors you prefer will factor in as well. Lastly, knowing when you expect to take delivery will help me present the right vehicle.

    The Toyota network is a powerful tool which gives me access to about eight-weeks worth of supply for the region. Often my client’s put deposits on vehicles that have yet to be built. This is nice because it moves through the distribution system with your name on it and strangers are not allowed to test-drive or otherwise demonstrate such a vehicle.

    All of my sales that are not registered in the US will not be required to pay sales taxes upon furnishing me with two pieces of ID that show the same Canadian residence address. All non-US vehicles are sold at MSRP, plus any costs to secure the vehicle and bring it here. In addition there is a $50 document fee and a $30.50 fee for a trip permit which is required to drive the vehicle up to the border.

    The Toyota factory warranty is good for all of N America.

    Thanks for this opportunity, I look forward to meeting you when you come to pick-up your new Toyota.”

    Reply
  • 33. KatherineT  |  December 27, 2007 at 4:57 pm

    Hey Oren,

    Just wanted to thank you for all your helpful posts. My husband and I bought a 07 Prius Touring on Dec 3 at Wilson Motors. I followed to a tee all your steps and it was a lot easier than I thought it would be. I highly recommend buying a Prius from the States because we saved a lot of money in comparison to what the BC dealers in our town were offering.
    If I had not found your easy step-by-step list, it would have been a lot more confusing…thanks again!

    I applied for the PST rebate (as per your instructions); however, I am a little confused about the GST rebate. Some sources say it is applicable to imported hybrids, others say it isn’t…any new info regarding this? I also heard that you have to apply for the GST rebate in the year you bought the vehicle…which means time’s running out!

    Thanks,
    Katherine

    Reply
  • 34. KatherineT  |  December 27, 2007 at 6:49 pm

    Sorry for the confusion…I meant federal rebate when I was talking of the GST rebate. I just found the forms online and yes it looks like you have to purchase the hybrid from a Canadian dealership to get the rebate. However, I’m going to fill out the forms and submit it anyways, just in case there’s some leeway.

    Reply
  • 35. orenf  |  December 31, 2007 at 3:09 pm

    Katherine:

    I bought my ’07 at Wilson Motors as well. Good to know they are “back in business”, selling to Canadians.

    I doubt we’ll get the GST rebate, but I’ll be sending my documents as well. Ottawa bureaucracy being what it is, you never know…

    Reply
  • 36. Lisa  |  January 6, 2008 at 11:44 pm

    Are you able to insure the car easily? So you basically had to buy the car free and clear of loans?

    Reply
  • 37. orenf  |  January 7, 2008 at 2:00 pm

    Lisa,

    You can read more re: insurance on the other posts I’ve written on this blog.
    Once the car has been inspected and approved by RIV, it is insured just like any other local vehicle.

    As for the “clear of loans” comments – I’m not sure what it refers to. I bought a new car, from the dealer, and didn’t finance it through the dealer, so there was not question of loans, etc.

    — Oren

    Reply
  • 38. Bohdan Lazarenko  |  January 7, 2008 at 3:53 pm

    A couple points to add to this discussion that hopefully are of merit. For some newer members , who are just starting out, the rules of the immobilizers have somewhat been liberalized. Read and reread the Transport Canada list of admissable vehicles that are listed from a link on the riv.ca website. Then phone just to be sure. You do not want to be in limbo at he border one day.
    Needless to say , proceed as fast as you can , just so you stay on the correct side of the rules. I noticed one posting of a Acura buyer on the Cars Without Borders website – it was listed as the ” Horror Story of the dat”. Buyer buys the car in
    september for October delivery , then due to some personal reasons does not pick the car up till November.
    At the border he notices that some other people have signed documents from transport canada. He does not. Can not import the car. Basically he blames everyone else but ther person in the mirror – him or herself. Worse yet he blames the dealer in name ( twice). Talk about ruining it for everyone else.
    So time is of the essence.
    Several points to add. As you get further down the completion list some additional roadblocks to go around come into play.
    For example – in some states the only people who can buy car insurance are residents. There may not be short term insurance. It may be easiest to purchase the car , obtain the tiltle and then through phone and fax obtain either a one way transport certificate and / or insurance from Canada , or plate the car in the U.S. and insure in Canada. Best to ask before purchasing what the rules are – both in the U.S. and in Canada for insuring non cleared cars.
    Secondly in terms of titles and the title passing from the car dealer to you some states have standard clearing periods meant to provide a buffer time for creditors to seize assets.
    In the U.S. home mortgages are tax deductible. Hence people often do not pay off their mortgages , or pay very little principle. Cars are often used as collaterals in loans.
    Why does this matter. For example in Fllorida as an example the clearing time of the title to the new buyer is 90 – 100 days.
    The car dealer cannot submit the title to the highways board until 30 days after purchase. Then its the delays in the system for the rest.
    Interestingly car dealers get title immeadiately to used cars purchased at auctions as somehow those car titles are considered valid and are passed on immeadiatly to the buyer and end consumer. Another reason why a used car may be an easier option.

    Reply
  • 39. Tony  |  January 31, 2008 at 7:35 pm

    I am in Toronto, Ontario. Do same rules apply as they pertain to other Provinces in Canada?

    I have not been able to ascertain if Toyota Hybrid 2008 is admissible into Canada or not—except that the 2007 is. Any one has new information on that?

    Perhaps not totally related to the line of discussion above but is Camry Hybrid a better car and easier to import than the Toyota Hybrid?

    Thank you for your thoughts.

    Tony

    Reply
  • 40. orenf  |  January 31, 2008 at 8:46 pm

    Tony,

    I’m afraid I can’t provide you much info – I hope some other reader can. You can also try and post your question on http://www.priuschat.com .

    Re Ontario:
    – the rules governing the import process are the same as in the other provinces, as this is a federal process. Once you clear the federal inspection, you’ll have to pass whatever provincial inspection there is. You’ll also have to pay PST, unless Ontario has the same PST refund BC has (I’ve no clue).

    Re ’08 model: I honestly don’t know. The easiest is to call up RIV (www.riv.ca) and ask them whether it is admissible or not – it is they who make the decision. They are quite responsive.

    Re Camry v Prius: I can’t tell you which is the better car – I ride a Prius, not a Camry. I’m sure the Camry is just as good – it has a stronger engine and is roomier, but consumes more gas and (for some, like me) may not as much fun to drive as the Prius.

    Process-wise, it makes no different whether you’re importing the Camry or the Prius, so long as they are both on the RIV list.

    — Oren

    Reply
  • 41. orenf  |  January 31, 2008 at 8:47 pm

    Tony,

    I’m afraid I can’t provide you much info – I hope some other reader can. You can also try and post your question on http://www.priuschat.com .

    Re Ontario:
    – the rules governing the import process are the same as in the other provinces, as this is a federal process. Once you clear the federal inspection, you’ll have to pass whatever provincial inspection there is. You’ll also have to pay PST, unless Ontario has the same PST refund BC has (I’ve no clue).

    Re ’08 model: I honestly don’t know. The easiest is to call up RIV (www.riv.ca) and ask them whether it is admissible or not – it is they who make the decision. They are quite responsive.

    Re Camry v Prius: I can’t tell you which is the better car – I ride a Prius, not a Camry. I’m sure the Camry is just as good – it has a stronger engine and is roomier, but consumes more gas and (for some, like me) may not as much fun to drive as the Prius.

    Process-wise, it makes no different whether you’re importing the Camry or the Prius, so long as they are both on the RIV list.

    — Oren

    Reply
  • 42. Tony  |  February 3, 2008 at 2:19 pm

    Oren’

    Thank you for your information. You have been most helpful.

    I am now connected to one US dealer. I am inclined to buy the Prius.

    Once again, my sincere thanks.

    Tony

    Reply
  • 43. orenf  |  February 3, 2008 at 2:25 pm

    Tony – that’s great news. If you go through with the transaction, kindly let us know what the process was like. If and when you get the car, please let us know the dealer’s info.

    thanks,
    Oren

    Reply
  • 44. Matt  |  February 19, 2008 at 9:06 pm

    Hey Oren, I have a question for you. I am thinking about bringing a Prius into Canada. How do you transport the vehicle if you don’t register it in the state in which you purchased it? Secondly, I’m guessing that I won’t have a problem with purchasing a vehicle at any dealership, due to me being a US Citizen. What do you think?

    Reply
  • 45. orenf  |  February 19, 2008 at 9:14 pm

    Matt,

    As for transporting the car, you get a temp. permit from the dealer, allowing you to take it out of state. you also get temp insurance from ICBC (or your provincial equivalent), which allows you to bring the car to your home. when you get your inspection forms you get another temp insurance (for a day), and drive the car to get inspected, and then register it with ICBC.

    As for you being a US citizen – interesting question. I don’t know. I _think_ this should get around the “not selling to Canadians” issue, but it depends on what Toyota is requiring from its dealers – not to sell to Canadians, or not to sell cars for export.
    Knowing car dealers, they would do their utmost to close the deal, and will use whatever excuse to go around Toyota’s requirements.
    Remember, the dealer has to cooperate in order for you to export the car without registering it in the US. If you register in the US, you pay state tax + duty/GST/PST + you don’t qualify fo the PST rebate (in BC).
    Let us know…

    — Oren

    Reply
  • 46. Matt  |  February 25, 2008 at 6:55 pm

    Oren, I have had no luck with a few dealers near the border. Are there any you know of that will sell for export? The savings is amazing and I’m getting features that are not offered in Canada.

    Reply
  • 47. Parm  |  March 1, 2008 at 2:34 pm

    Hi Oren

    I am going down to Wilson’s to purchase a 2008 Camry Hybrid, just a little confused how on I will get the PST rebate back. Where do I find the paper work for it? And I know not to register the vehicle in Washington state I have already spoken to the dealer and what not, just trying to figure out this little PST rebate hurdle. Excellent post by the way it’s extremely helpful, hopefully I’ll save some decent coin.

    Cheers,
    P.S.

    Reply
  • 48. orenf  |  March 2, 2008 at 7:36 am

    Parm,

    Check out this post – it explains the PST rebate process: http://abouttime.wordpress.com/2007/07/26/importing-a-prius-hybrid-to-canada-conclusion/

    Yours,
    Oren

    Reply
  • 49. Paulg  |  March 10, 2008 at 7:39 am

    I’m in the Vancouver BC area and am interested in importing a Camry. When I contacted Wilson Motors a couple of months ago, they insisted on selling the vehicle at full retail to Canadians. Contact was Jeff Sadighi. Their price to their US customers is around $3,000 lower.
    BC now has a $1,500 rebate in place. As well, $2,000 Federal Rebate and $1,500 Provincial. This means that a base Camry Hybrid costs around $32,500 in Canada all in.
    Hasn’t anybody done an analysis recently to see if importing a camry is still worth it? Especially considerign the 6% duty that they may have to pay Re: not built in US?
    Thx.

    Reply
  • 50. ippab  |  March 13, 2008 at 6:10 pm

    Hi Oren,

    I am moving to Canada on work visa this August. I am wondering if I buy a Prius now, do I have to pay Duty,PST+GST.

    Also, is it better to buy a Prius 2008 or Prius 2007?

    Thanks in advance!

    Reply
  • 51. orenf  |  March 13, 2008 at 6:30 pm

    ippab:

    Welcome to Canada :)

    I’m not sure what the policy is if you are a US Citizen, buying a vehicle in the US, then moving temporarily to Canada with your car. Hardly sounds like you’re “importing” the vehicle to me. Assuming the car is registered in the US, I doubt there is a tax event here – you’re not a Canadian importing into Canada, you’re moving to Canada and taking your belongings with you.

    But I could be totally off the mark. Why not call http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/ and ask them (and let us know what the answer is).

    As for ’07 v ’08: Mine is a 2007. As far as I know, the ’08 model is identical to the ’07. So it all comes down to price – you can probably get a good price on ’07, but you’ll have a higher depreciation rate, and your warranty will be shorter (I believe it starts on the day the car was manufactured – could be wrong).

    — Oren

    Reply
  • 52. dlwitzke  |  March 14, 2008 at 8:13 pm

    Oren,

    We are looking at buying a highlander hybrid limited in the US and would like to know if your willing to pass along your contact from Wilson motors. We would like to deal with a dealership that is willing to work with Canadians.

    Thanks,
    dlwitzke

    Reply
  • 53. paulg  |  March 16, 2008 at 12:12 pm

    Hello Oren- 2 questions if you have a chance:

    1. It looks like you dealt with Wilson Motors. Did you get any break on the price or did you pay full retail?

    2. Does the warranty apply after you bring the car to Canada?

    Many thanks.

    Paul

    Reply
  • 54. orenf  |  March 16, 2008 at 12:17 pm

    Hi Paul,

    Yes, I got mine @ Wilson (gosh, I should get a commission for all the business I’ve pushed their way by now…).

    I paid retail. It is what it is – they have leverage (by agreeing to sell you the car). Not as if you can go elsewhere. So there’s zero willingness to give you a break. At least that was my experience.

    Warranty: Toyota’s warranty covers the whole of North America. And that’s not rumor, that’s fact. I took mine to have the steering wheel slightly adjusted. The BC dealer asked me if I got a good price on the car, and then proceeded to make the necessary changes, all under warranty.

    — Oren

    Reply
  • 55. Juan  |  April 23, 2008 at 11:14 am

    Hi all,
    The RIV listing says that if a 2008 Prius manufactured after Sept 1, 2007 needs to have the Electronic Immobilization System (EIS) updated to Canadian standard. I called Canadian Tire and they said they can’t perform this. Does anyone have any experience with this update? do you know who can do it in the Vancouver area?

    Thanks,
    Juan

    Reply
  • 56. Potato  |  April 23, 2008 at 3:46 pm

    I suggest you call the RIV to get the latest information.

    That rule was put into place, and a number of cars were prevented from being registered in Canada. After public outcry, the government granted “amnesty” and is waiving the rules temporarily. I have not heard if that has changed/expired, but it might have in the last few months (I’m a little out of date myself).

    Here is the article from the Globe about the amnesty:
    http://www.reportonbusiness.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20071130.r-autos01/BNStory/robNews/home

    It is not possible to update the ECU on a Prius to change the immobilizer to Canadian standards. If you call to get the latest information, either the amnesty will still be in place, or you will not be able to import the car.

    Reply
  • [...] Canadians who imported from the US – help? Hi, the comments are on this post: Importing a Prius hybrid to Canada The Mobile Net – From Useless to Useful at the bottom. I don’t have access to the article – the URL was posted by the person making the [...]

    Reply
  • 58. orenf  |  April 23, 2008 at 6:24 pm

    Juan,

    Here’s the link to the Globe and Mail article: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20071201.RAUTOS01/TPStory/Business

    Reply
  • 59. Ian  |  May 29, 2008 at 8:47 am

    A very helpful blog, thanks.
    I am now looking into buying an Escape in the US.

    Reply
  • 60. car importing canada  |  July 22, 2008 at 8:31 am

    this post is very helpful…the breakdown of expenses showed that importing cars anywhere is costly today…

    Reply

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About Me

A lawyer-turned-strategic marketer, I currently live in Vancouver BC. Born and raised in Israel, I was educated in the US and have lived in France (that's in Europe).
Currently at Contec Innovations, I head the company's marketing, business development and product management initiatives.
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